STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE VANCE AMORY Senior Minister and Minister of Labour AT THE 108TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF LABOUR HELD IN GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, JUNE 10-21, 2019

Mr Chairman,

Allow me to take this opportunity to extend congratulations on behalf government and people of St Kitts and Nevis to the ILO on this its centennial anniversary.  The work of the ILO over these 100 years is worthy of celebration.  We commend the ILO on all of its accomplishments and pray its continued success as we chart the way forward for the next 100 years.

In St Kitts and Nevis, we are mindful of the fact that the nature of work is undergoing major transformation impacted by demography, technological development and climate change, and the development of artificial intelligence and robotics.

In St. Kitts and Nevis, we have begun the process of encouraging our people to prepare for the inevitable change in the structure of work by developing programmes of training, and retraining our people to equip them for the future of work.  In addition, the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the National Tripartite Committee has established a new structure to upgrade all workers and prepare them to meet the challenges which confront them in respect of the future of work.

The Future of work is about people.  It is about families and this transformation is about changing the attitude and the culture of people to accept the change and equip themselves to adapt to the new environment in the world of work.   The future of work is about the improvement of the quality of life of our people even as they face the challenges posed by the changing socio economic and the political environment.

The discussions we’ve had at the National level has been inclusive of all stakeholders –

  • representatives of workers
  • representatives employers and
  •  civil society generally
to ensure the broad consensus of tripartism to maximize the benefits of the workers in the changing world of work. In this process Mr Chair, St. Kitts and Nevis recognizes the importance of ensuring that the institutions of learning are geared towards lifelong learning to strengthen this new strategy to prepare the workforce to adapt to the new opportunities which will be created in the future.

In this context as well it, is imperative that the private sector becomes a leading partner in investing in the creation of new jobs for the future.

It is also necessary that all workers are accorded the dignity and the social protection which is necessary for them to:

  • enjoy a good quality of life
  • earn a living wage
  • be able to provide the basic needs for a decent standard of living for their families,
  • and to have some savings for the future.
This is a challenge for the future of work that workers must feel that their participation in the economic activity in their country, and the world is valued and they are able to share equitably in the economic benefits generated by their skills and by their labour.

Mr. Chairman, the future of work must also focus on our young people and seek to identify their talents and their skills and entrepreneurial capacities to become self-employed using the technology which already exist and we as governments to provide the support with resources to develop new avenues of employment for the future.

In addressing the Future of Work, St. Kitts and Nevis is in the process of reviewing the ILO conventions with a view to ratifying those outstanding issues.

In closing Mr. Chair, I must take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to the ILO for the invaluable assistance provided to enable St. Kitts and Nevis to develop a new Labour Code which would ensure that we have the protection of worker’s rights in the emerging labour markets.

We are adapting new regulations and policies to ensure decent work and prosperity for all.

Again, congratulations to the ILO on its 100th anniversary. Thank you Mr. Chair, and God Bless.

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