JIS News

Representatives from government ministries, trade union and employers’ organisations from 12 Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, are presently participating in a conciliation and mediation-training workshop at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
The six-day event, which is a joint venture between the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s sub-regional office for the Caribbean and the Ministry of Labour Social and Social Security, is geared at improving industrial relations skills in the region.
In his remarks at the official opening of the workshop this morning (Dec. 9), Samuel Goolsarran, Senior Specialist on Industrial Relations and Labour Administration at the ILO’s sub-regional Caribbean office, noted that the current work programme of the ILO had four major objectives, which were reflective of the global labour relations climate.
These strategic objectives, he said, were to promote and realise the fundamental principles and rights at work; to create greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment and income; to enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all; and to strengthen tripartite activities and social dialogue.
Stressing the importance of conciliators and mediators in the workplace, Mr. Goolsarran said that these individuals worked to ensure that fair employment policies and practices were adhered to and enabled the facilitation of dialogue in dispute resolution.
In his remarks, Chief Technical Director in the Labour Ministry, Gresford Smith, told the participants that over the course of their workshop, “your efforts should be focused primarily on developing and refining the skills of your craft so as to improve your performances as conciliation and mediation officers, and to function more effectively in the broader scheme of industrial relations practice.”
The workshop, Mr. Smith indicated, was meant to expose participants to “new knowledge, new approaches and processes in managing conflicts, skills development in conciliation and mediation, and importantly, the ability to apply appropriately and effectively, the results of your training to any given conflict situation in industrial relations.”
The Chief Technical Director observed that with the fast changes and advances that globalisation had brought, pressure was being put on Jamaica to put the necessary reforms in place to meet world demands.
“The reform therefore of our labour market, is urgent as it is compelling; for we have to equip our labour force with the necessary education, training and re-training to allow them to find jobs as the market evolves, and as our economies are exposed to the true nature of international competition,” he stated.
Representatives participating in the workshop hail from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Monsterrat, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. The conciliation and mediation workshop runs until Wednesday, December 15.

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