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Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo.

‘Productivity is everyone’s business’


There is a need for relevant stakeholders and Social Partners to engage in dialogue on the subject of labour productivity. 
That’s the view of Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who contends that the blame game has to end, and efforts have to be made to get to the root of the problems associated with low productivity. She is therefore adamant that everyone has to work together if productivity improvements are to be achieved.
Her comments came as she delivered the keynote address at a Membership Workshop on Productivity Improvements for Small and Micro Enterprises, at the Accra Beach Resort, hosted by the Barbados Employers’ Confederation in conjunction with the International Labour Organisation and the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation under the theme “Understanding issues of productivity and exploring ways of improving”.
“The role of employers is important; employers must work with employees to set and clarify employees’ expectations by ensuring that they understand their roles within the organisation and what is expected of them. They must monitor employees’ performance and engage in ongoing two-way discussions to continuously develop their performance. They must plan and review employees’ work objectives and help employees to understand how their achievements link to the organisation’s objectives. They must develop the capabilities that employees need to effectively fulfil their role and perform at a high level, and of course recognise employees for good performance and resolve unsatisfactory performance promptly and effectively,” she said.
Moreover, she said it is important that employers help employees to improve their work performance, promote team building and participation at work, modernise equipment and keep it in good working order, take disciplinary action when necessary and promote participation in training courses.
Minister Byer Suckoo also said it is important that employees know and understand their role in productivity. She made the point while noting that the attitude of employees and motivating employees are two problems which are inextricably linked and have an impact on productivity.
“Attitudes and motivation appear to be a severe problem to productivity growth. Some of the most often mentioned attributes of employees by employers are inflexibility, lack of team spirit, and a belief that they are “owed a job”. This perception and work ethos of our workers needs to change,” she contended.
The Labour Minister went further to suggest that the trade unions must help to effect that change in mindsets of workers. She acknowledged that while their responsibility is to ensure the rights of workers, they also have a responsibility to help devise the productivity measures, which will ultimately benefit the country. With that in mind, she added that strike action may get them wage increases for workers, but she lamented there is no guarantee of improved productivity from those workers.
Her comments came as she reminded those gathered that greater productivity benefits all. She explained that not only does it lend to higher profitability for companies, but better compensation for workers and better quality goods and services for customers. (JRT)

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