ADVANCING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES AND WORKERS’ RIGHTS A TOP PRIORITY FOR LABOUR DEPARTMENT

Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 14, 2017 (SKNIS): An important goal of the Department of Labour is job creation, “so that all who wish to work should or can find work in their own country,” noted Senior Minister and Minister of Labour, the Honourable Vance Amory, during the National Conference on Labour on Tuesday, November 14.

“We have to build this on sound labour relations – that partnership, the tripartite with the labour unions and representatives of employers and the representatives of employees – with government performing the mediation role,” said Minister Amory, adding that the government remains impartial.

Minister Amory said that a number of important factors have to be considered to ensure harmony in workplaces.

“We have to ensure that there is no discrimination in the workplaces. We have to ensure that we put policies and practices in place to alleviate poverty. We have to enhance the occupational health and safety awareness and compliance in our workplaces, as well as seek to nurture the culture of acceptance of workers’ rights, that there are human rights without aggregating the rights of the employers as well,” said the Senior Minister. “We need to emphasize that work is part of everyone’s daily life and that it is crucial to a person’s dignity, his/her well-being and development as a human being,” he added.

The Minister of Labour explained that for St. Kitts and Nevis, “economic development includes the creation of jobs and working conditions in which people can work in freedom, safety and with their dignity intact. Economic development is not undertaken for its own sake, but to improve the lives of our people. In this regard, we have to ensure that our workplaces and our labour market are governed by rules, which are acceptable and fair, and that our institutions and places of work bring that efficiency and that fairness to all concerned.”

Brenda John, Executive Director of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC), agreed that it is important to create employment, and acknowledged that employees are very important, especially to the Chamber.

“We value all employees as our most precious assets but we are often challenged to find the middle road that provides some level of employment in a manner that allows for our businesses to maximize profits for long term sustainability,” she said, adding that the CIC feels a great responsibility to “develop employees and employers” through capacity building initiatives.

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