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Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, has described the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Tripartite Caribbean Conference, which opened at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel yesterday, as timely, in the context of the current global economic crisis.
“I believe that economic growth and prosperity are the best starting points for any discussion towards development. As such, this conference is therefore significant and timely, as we engage in dialogue around social and economic issues amidst the volatility in the global financial market,” Mr. Charles said.
Mr. Charles was speaking today (April 1) at the opening ceremony of the Conference, which is being held under the theme, ‘Promoting Human Prosperity Beyond the Global Financial Crisis; Seeking Sustainable Solutions Through Social Dialogue’.
According to Mr. Charles, the conference is a testimony to the fact that, irrespective of the challenges facing the world today, the Caribbean will not sit back and do nothing.
“The Caribbean like the rest of the world has been greatly impacted, because this crisis brought about social and economic insecurity, affecting people from all walks of life. However, we are not going to be handcuffed by this social conditionality,” he said.
“We need to bring into sharper focus, intelligent management for human resources, where we reconstruct and redirect markets towards sustainable growth,” he added.
The Labour Minister recalled that the tripartite members in Jamaica (Government, Employers and Trade Unions) were already engaged in “fruitful” dialogue on the possible way forward.
“In Jamaica we (the government) have called the employers, trade unions and management together, and we have been having discussions as a united force. This is to create a partnership at the work place, in order to facilitate decent work, as emphasised by the ILO, and we are happy to advise that the responses from the trade unions are good,” he said.
He also stated that the government had taken steps to develop practical strategies that will prevent job losses across the board.
“The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has consulted with local partners and established a multi-sectoral committee, comprising of labour, management, academia and trade unions, which meets regularly to strategise ways to minimise possible redundancies among the workers,” he explained.
The Labour Minister said that the government will continue to invest in skills training and recertification, and urged other nations to follow suit.
“In this changing world it is important that we focus on skills training and recertification of our citizens, because education and recertification will allow our citizens to take advantage of opportunities now and after the crisis,” he said.
Hosted by the ILO sub regional Office for the Caribbean, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) and the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC), the aims of the ILO Tripartite Caribbean Conference is to provide a forum for the exchange of views and information, and to explore practical measures for overcoming the social and labour consequences of the global financial crisis, through tripartite consultations and negotiations.

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