Caribbean Labour Ministers agree to new recommendations at ILO meeting on future of work

CARICOM Ministers at the ILO Regional Meeting
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(ILO Press Release) Ministers of Labour from across the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean have developed and adopted new recommendations for shaping a brighter and more sustainable future of work in the region. The recommendations are the result of the 11th International Labour Organisation (ILO) Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour, held 14-15 May in Barbados.

During the Meeting, Ministers of Labour and other high-level representatives of Ministries and Departments of Labour discussed how powerful forces such as globalisation; the technological and digital revolution; global warming and climate change; as well as demographic shifts are challenging the world of work. They also deliberated how those changes are having profound impacts on the Caribbean, as well as the implications for the future.

Dr. Carla Barnett of Belize and Minister Stephenson King of Saint Lucia at the Meeting

“The Meeting specifically addressed how transformations to the world of work are affecting labour and jobs in the region. It also provided an opportunity to determine how our own actions and policy choices can turn challenge into opportunity,” said Ms Claudia Coenjaerts, Director of the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean. “Promoting and realizing the Decent Work Agenda as a tool that can help the Caribbean will ensure we turn these changes into our favour.”

As a result of Meeting discussions, Labour Ministers and other senior government officials agreed on the four overarching recommendations to guide Caribbean countries towards achieving a sustainable future of work.
1. Exploring new job and decent work opportunities in the digital, care and green/blue economies;
2. Adapting institutions of work to new emerging forms of employment and the growing importance of digital, care and green/blue economies;
3. Articulating a renewed social contract through social dialogue mechanisms aimed at achieving social justice and social cohesion; and
4. Advancing labour cooperation through the ILO Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) framework and towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“The region’s inherent vulnerabilities as Small Island Developing States make resilience especially important. Decent Work Country Programmes and a reinvigorated social contract are critical for delivering a human-centered agenda as an instrument for such resilience. This is what we need for a successful future of work,” said Ms Coenjaerts.

The 11th (ILO) Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour was based on the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work Report titled “Work for a Brighter Future”.  The Report was published in January 2019, at the beginning of the ILO’s Centenary year, kicking off the Organization’s 100th anniversary celebrations. The Meeting sought to assess the relevance of the Global Commission’s Report on the Future of Work in the Caribbean. Sessions featured interactive methods to help participants share ideas on how to make recommendations that can help address key labour and social issues faced by the region.

In addition to Ministers of Labour and other high-level representatives of Ministries and Departments of Labour, Meeting delegates included Mr. Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General; representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat; the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS); as well as representatives of the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL).

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