Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 04, 2017 (SKNIS): The new Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Ron Dublin-Collins, said that he is settling into his role and is prepared to lead the staff and support the Minister of Labour in protecting the rights of workers in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“Our vision is to have a very strong and active department that supports the workforce, ensures that conditions within the workplace will lead to a progressive and strong labour force, [and] that … decent work conditions exist,” Mr. Dublin-Collins said. “That in itself creates a culture where individuals’ lives can improve.”

To best achieve this, the acting permanent secretary stated that meaningful partnerships must continue between the government, public sector officials, employee representatives and other stakeholders. However, in addition to improving working conditions, Mr. Dublin-Collins said it was important to tackle work attitudes as well. He suggested that this can be done by creating an atmosphere where persons actually enjoy what they are doing on the job as opposed to just working for a paycheck.

Similar messages were communicated last week (Wednesday, April 26) to employee and employer representatives attending an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) symposium. The event was organized as part of St. Kitts and Nevis’ activities to commemorate the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which is celebrated internationally on April 28 each year. The theme for 2017 was “Optimize the Collection and Use of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Data.”

“It (the symposium) has widened my vision of where we need to go in terms of moving beyond the rhetoric and showing that all workplaces are safe and that the conditions support persons returning home healthy to their families,” Acting Permanent Secretary Dublin-Collins stated.

It was the first public event that he presided over in his new capacity since being appointed in April. Mr. Dublin-Collins expressed an interest in having similar sessions at various times throughout the year so that the message of occupational safety and health is reinforced and becomes “a reality within the workplace supported by the necessary policies and legislation.”