General Secretary of Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Senator Toni Moore (left) speaking with Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guy Ryder.

Promote social dialogue

Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guy Ryder, underlined the importance of social dialogue to the 11th ILO Meeting of Caribbean Labour Ministers yesterday.

Addressing the opening ceremony held at Accra Beach Hotel and Spa, he said that the notion of social partnership – the collective representation
of interest by employers and workers, and their interaction with government in processes of partnership – is fundamental.

“The ILO’s Global Commission says that these partnerships and this representation of interest should be considered as a public good,” he emphasised.

“Something which is good not just for the worker or the employer, but good for the cohesion and good for the welfare of society as a whole. And we believe and we take inspiration from the example of Barbados, that these notions of partnership need to be promoted as a matter of public policy around the world, and that we will all be better off as a result of so doing,” he stated.

The two-day meeting being held under the theme “Shaping a brighter future of work for the Caribbean” is aligned with the recently released ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work Report, titled “Work for a Brighter Future”.

The Report explores major transformations faced by the world of work that are driven by globalisation; the technological and digital revolution; global warming and climate change; and demographic shifts. It also examines how governments, employers, workers and society as a whole are affected.

“There are many reports about the future of work at the moment, but this is a report which very consciously is about people. It is a report which seeks to place people at the centre of the future of work. But, accordingly, it sets out what it calls a “human-centred agenda” for the future of work for growth and development. An agenda that places women and men and the work that they do at the centre of our social and economic policies,” Ryder said, pointing out that it does so by three areas of investment – people’s capabilities; institutions of work; and decent and sustainable work.

The ILO Director-General impressed the need for life-long learning in a world of work which is changing at extra-ordinary speed.

“It is no longer possible to imagine that we acquire our skills and education in the first 20 to 25 years of our life in the belief that they will serve us throughout the whole period of a working life… So, skills will need to be renewed, updated throughout the course of working life and that requires us to put in place systems for life-long learning,” he insisted.

“Let’s be realistic, this is very easy to say, it is much more difficult to do. What are the delivery systems of life-long learning; who is responsible for them – the government, enterprises or the individual and how are we to finance them? These are pending questions that we need to address together”. (TL)

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