St. Maarten attends ILO regional labor meeting

POSTED: 06/27/13 3:24 PM

St. Maarten – Director General of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder will address the 8th meeting of Caribbean Labor Ministers in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad next week; first vice president of the Windward Islands Chamber of Labor Unions Claire Elshot told the media on Tuesday. Elshot has been attending the ILO International Conference for the past three years in Geneva, Switzerland as part of a delegation that includes government officials and the business community.

“In having these meetings in the regional area, we also expect to see a lot of these programs put in place so that our workers can be empowered and that social justice would continue to be the keynote as the ILO has directed it,” Elshot stated.

The two day conference will be held from July 2 to July 3 at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre under the theme “The Caribbean and Labor 2013 and Beyond – Strengthening Decent Work for Development.” The meeting has been organized by the ILO in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

As a member of the Tripartite Committee member Claire Elshot said that “After travelling to Geneva, I expect our own local minister to also be in attendance at the meeting. The meeting will provide an opportunity for delegates to take a position on critical issues related to employment and labor in the Caribbean and to have a discourse on decent work for development.”

Director-General Ryder will address the opening ceremony of the meeting, along with the Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar and that republic’s Minister of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development Errol McLeod.  Caricom Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin La Rocque is also expected to speak at the meeting. The ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Elizabeth Tinoco, will also be in attendance.

During his visit, the ILO Director-General is also expected to attend a breakfast meeting of the tripartite partners  from the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC), the Caribbean Congress of Labor (CCL), and Ministers of Labor of the Caribbean.

Elshot explained that some of the local unions are affiliated with the Caribbean Congress of Labor and will also be attendance.

Much attention has been placed on Ryder, she said, since he released a report examining the forces transforming the reality of the world of work and the innovative actions required of the ILO to renew its capacity to deliver a mandate of social justice. The report also recognizes the tripartite commitment to the ILO is crucial to the achievement of its objectives and concludes with a number of concrete initiatives to harness that commitment as the organization approaches a 100 years.

“The report takes a long term view and a broader perspective and it addresses the major developments and challenges in the world of work and the role the ILO has to play in the 21st century,” Elshot explained.

President of Wiclu, Theophilus Thompson added that unions are committed to social dialogue at the tripartite and bi-partisan levels. He expressed the hope that other partners share the same sentiment in the interest of the country’s development.

“As unions we are equal partners in the social economic and political development of our island with the same responsibility as businesses and government. As a union we are committed to social dialogue. We hope that the social partners, either government or employers are also committed to this,” Thompson stated.

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