JIS News

Director of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean, Dr. Ana Teresa Romero, has praised the Jamaican government for its commitment to reducing child labour.
Speaking at Thursday’s (February 5) launch and signing of the Ministry of Labour’s child labour project, TACKLE, at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel, Dr. Romero said that the strengthening of institutional capacity and greater allocation of resources by the government were tangible proof of its commitment to tackling child labour.
“I am pleased to hear that the Ministry of Finance has approved additional resources, so that we can strengthen institutional capacity. Because, it’s one thing to ratify the international labour conventions, but having ratified the conventions, and having enacted relevant legislations, you need the institutional capacity for enforcement and for advice to all the persons concerned”, Dr. Romero said.
“On the operational side, you need resources to be able to produce the kind of information and communication products, and to organize targeted interventions, so that you raise awareness and provide capacity on the ground to take measures for getting children into school and keeping them in school”, she added.
Dr. Romero said that findings from the ILO’s Committee of Experts on the application of conventions and recommendations, suggested that in order for child labour, in Jamaica and the rest of the region, to be reduced significantly, adjustments must be made in certain areas.
She said, however, that some critical issues needed attention, including aligning the age for admission to employment with the age for compulsory education, so that there is no age gap.
“For example, let’s say the child is 14 and the legal age for employment is 15. Because you have that one year space, what do you do in that year? That needs to be adjusted because children could use it in a way that is inimical to there welfare,” Dr. Romero commented.
According to her, other adjustments that are needed, include defining hazardous work, the development of registers in enterprises as well as training for Labour Inspectorates.
“There is need for governments to draw up a list of hazardous work because, if you are going to have apprentices attached to different industries, you want to have a consensus among workers, government and employers as to the types of activities that will not be suitable for the young apprentice”, she asserted.
She suggested that the enterprises keep registers indicating who is employed and in what capacity, as well as some background information.
She said that the training of Labour Inspectorates is important to enhance the ability of the workers to carry out their duties, as they relate to knowing what to look for, and how to identify when work conditions are not suitable, even in an apprenticeship situation.
In endorsing the TACKLE programme, Dr. Romero stated that ILO’s Committee of Experts will be working alongside Jamaicans and providing feedback and guidelines.
Jamaica has signed the International Labour Convention 138 on the minimum age for employment, and 182 on eliminating the worst forms of child labour, and must abide by the provision of these conventions.

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