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Time to address youth unemployment, says Labour Minister
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. the Hon. Esther Byer-Suckoo, recently expressed to the 101st session of the International Labour Organisation Confer-ence in Geneva that the global financial crisis has led to the loss of many jobs, particularly among the vulnerable youth.
She said youth unemployment is reported as being three and in some cases, five times higher than adult unemployment.
“Accentuated by the slow pace of recovery globally, young people are becoming marginalised, despondent and cynical about the future with a rise in welfare dependence, political upheaval and youth protests as seen recently across the world. We then must ensure dialogue with our young people at this time.”
“The Cabinet of Barbados has approved a national youth policy which identifies youth unemployment as a strategic area of concern. Because this policy was formulated after in-depth consultations with youth organisations and young people generally, we are confident that our National Youth Policy and our strategies will address the concerns of our youth,” Dr Byer-Suckoo highlighted.
In addition, the Labour Minister turned her attention to social protection, identifying that Barbados has a well-developed programme designed to alleviate poverty and exclusion, encourage human resource development and encourage greater labour market participation, employability and productivity.
“Barbados’ social protection measures include low-income housing, free health care and education, welfare provision for food, rent and subsistence and income replacement to the sick, disabled and the unemployed, having recently extended the unemployment benefit from 26 weeks to 40 weeks.”
“We also increased by 25 per cent, the minimum wage for shop assistants, some of our most vulnerable workers. These measures are not to be seen as a hand out but as an investment designed to provide a cushion during the crisis and a springboard for a better future,” she signalled. (TL)