Reform of Labour Market in Progress

Photo: Dave Reid Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson (right), in conversation with (from left), President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson; and President of the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation, Wayne Chen, during the opening ceremony for the Caribbean Future of Work Forum, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on February 22.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, has outlined steps being taken by the Government to reform the labour market in Jamaica. Addressing the opening of the Caribbean Future of Work Forum, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston on February 22, the Minister cited establishment of the Labour Market Reform Commission in 2015 to ensure that educational and training programmes are aligned to new and emerging jobs, among other outcomes.
  • Mrs. Robinson argued that key policy initiatives and labour-market activities, particularly for the Caribbean, must give due respect to the primacy of labour and the significance of human interactions in the world of work.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, has outlined steps being taken by the Government to reform the labour market in Jamaica.

Addressing the opening of the Caribbean Future of Work Forum, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston on February 22, the Minister cited establishment of the Labour Market Reform Commission in 2015 to ensure that educational and training programmes are aligned to new and emerging jobs, among other outcomes.

“In addition to the skills and competencies to be acquired, we have to make a concerted effort to also improve social skills, creative skills, thinking skills, entrepreneurial skills and logistical skills, if we are to create the ideal CARICOM worker who must play a catalytic role in implementing the policies and programmes to provide economic growth and provide quality jobs,” she said.

The Minister hailed the staging of the Caribbean Future of Work Forum as having special and symbolic significance, as it provided the opportunity to add distinctive value to policy outcomes and innovative changes for quality jobs in the labour force.

She said the themes framing the discussions at the forum – Decent Jobs for All, Governance of Work, and Organisation of Work and Production – provide the scope and depth to cover emerging trends in the labour market.

Mrs. Robinson argued that key policy initiatives and labour-market activities, particularly for the Caribbean, must give due respect to the primacy of labour and the significance of human interactions in the world of work.

Meanwhile, Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder, said the discussions would highlight the Caribbean perspectives on the ‘Future of Work’ theme, which has been selected for global reflection by the international organisation.

“Let us try to join together in this future-of-work initiative and work out how we can shape a future of work that we want, to respond to the basic imperatives of social justice,” he said.

Mr. Ryder noted that the ILO, this year, will establish a high-level Global Commission on the Future of Work, which will be fed by the results of the national and subregional dialogues now under way. That Commission will report to the ILO’s centenary conference in June 2019, which is expected to adopt conclusions to guide the work of the organisation going forward.

“This initiative is not an idle academic exercise; it is designed to give future direction of our organisation as it enters the second 100 years of its existence, and where the need to promote global social justice has never been stronger,” he said.

The forum was hosted by the ILO Decent Work Team and the ILO Office for the Caribbean, in collaboration with the Government of Jamaica.

It formed part of activities for the 10th staging of the ILO Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour being held in Kingston from February 22 to 24.

The forum facilitated discussion on the governance structures and policies needed to ensure success in new forms of work and occupations that are being shaped by automation and technological innovation, as well as on how the digital economy is reorganising work and production.

It was attended by labour ministers, permanent secretaries and high-level officials of the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean as well as representatives from the Caribbean Congress of Labour, the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation, the United Nations, civil society, academia and development partners.

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