Labour Ministers end meeting in Guyana, need to enhance credible data sources

ST. KITTS, APRIL 20, 2010 (CUOPM) – The role of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in assisting Member States in establishing and improving the sources of information in order to develop and enhance the Labour Market Information Systems has been acknowledged by the Caribbean Community Council for Human and Social Development (COSHOD).

During COHSHOD’s 19th meeting in conjunction with the ILO Seventh Meeting of Caribbean Labour Ministers in Guyana, Ministers, their representatives and senior Labour officials noted the importance of annual labour force surveys. St. Kitts and Nevis was represented by Head of Delegation, Ms. Eudora Nisbett.

The Meeting agreed that there was a need to enhance the quality of labour force surveys as distinct from the national accounts and censuses done by statistical institutes. The Meeting pointed to the likely benefits from computerising departments of labour and standardising relevant administrative records.

As a long term measure, the COHSOD recognised the need to prioritise the development and sustainability of credible data sources and to build capacity for labour market trend analyses, and in this regard encouraged Ministries of Labour to integrate information on labour market trends in key policy documents such as budget debates and annual reports of trade unions and employers’ organisations.

The Meeting further underscored the need to develop inter-agency collaboration including technical assistance, as well as financial and political support.

It was emphasised that in the context of regional integration, it was important that there was coherence among the legislation of countries in the region particularly as it related to the social floor of rights to enable the Single Market and Economy to function effectively and to deepen the regional integration process.

Taking into account the existence of Model laws in the areas of freedom of association and collective bargaining, non-discrimination, termination of employment and occupational safety and health, COSHOD agreed that it would be useful to pursue harmonization of legislation in the areas of labour migration and social security.

It was also agreed that countries which had not yet ratified all of the eight ILO fundamental Conventions should do so. The COHSOD agreed that those Conventions were important aspects of trade and investment policies as was indicative in the recently signed Economic Partnership Agreement between CARIFORUM and the European Union.

In this context therefore the COHSOD urged Member States of CARICOM to make every effort to fulfill their reporting obligations in respect of ILO ratified Conventions and to implement the comments of the ILO supervisory bodies. The latter could contribute to reduce the need for additional harmonization of legislation. Attention was also drawn to the importance of ensuring the full participation of the national social partners as this would strengthen the implementation of regional integration.

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