Published On: Fri, Oct 26th, 2012

Regional labour meeting held in Trinidad

Trinidad and TobagoPORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad - Caribbean News Now reports that High-level representatives of the governments and of the employers' and workers' organizations of the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean met in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 17- 18 October 2012 and considered the theme "Optimizing Productivity at Safe and Healthy Workplaces through Social Dialogue in the Caribbean".

Representatives from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands were invited as participants to the two-day workshop.

Following informed tripartite discussions, the delegates reaffirmed their commitment to the Decent Work Agenda and the four strategic objectives creating jobs, guaranteeing rights at work, extending social protection, and promoting social dialogue. Emphasis was placed on occupational safety and health, productivity and social dialogue as the three key elements of the Decent Work Agenda.

The following conclusions, as outlined in the outcome document were adopted:

• Governments should place the attainment of a preventative culture as related to safety and health on the national agenda;

• Social dialogue promotes Decent Work and deepens trust and understanding of common objectives and goals;

• Productivity based on social dialogue and safe and healthy work is the ideal model for real and sustainable development;

• Social dialogue and the promotion of a healthy and safe work environment will increase efficiency and generate economic growth, industrial peace and harmony, and the creation of productive employment;

• Governments should develop policies and enact laws and regulations that promote safer and healthier workplaces and increase productivity which will contribute to reducing the cost and improving the ease of doing business;

• Regulatory authorities should be strengthened to work proactively with stakeholders to gather information, set priorities, raise awareness, develop standards, educate and train;

• Self-regulation and a systematic management approach to occupational safety and health at the enterprise level should be promoted;

• More health professionals should receive ongoing training and support in occupational health and occupational medicine in order to have occupational health issues identified and appropriately managed;

• Micro, small and medium enterprises, particularly in the service sector, should be supported to understand the necessity of focusing on a preventative approach to OSH, especially when legislation is under consideration or enacted;

• Social dialogue should be supported at a national level by formalizing structures to facilitate the effective involvement of the representative organizations of employers and workers;

• Active consideration should be given to the ratification of the ILO Occupational Safety and Health Convention,1981 (No.155) the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187), and the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention, 1983 (No. 159);

• OSH legislation in line with the CARICOM Model Legislation on OSH and the Working Environment (1997) should be promulgated as the harmonization of OSH legislation is critical to ensure protection of workers as they move within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy;

• SIMAPRO should be promoted as a tool to help to increase productivity and enhance preventative culture through social dialogue;

• As a first step towards safe and healthy workplaces, one element in the social protection pillar of the Decent Work Agenda, governments should promote and employers and workers should institute joint safety and health committees, or management-employee consultation mechanisms in workplaces as a means of strengthening worker participation and social dialogue at the workplace;

• Efforts should be strengthened to engender collaboration at the regional level to share experiences, effect synergies and cost economies, and South-South cooperation should be facilitated to assist in the development of OSH, social dialogue and productivity.

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