Prime Minister Harris attributes country’s peaceful industrial climate to Labour Department

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, February 8, 2019 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is experiencing a peaceful industrial climate, and Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris is attributing it to the Labour Department’s constructive role and responsible engagement in labour matters.

“We consider we have a very peaceful industrial climate and that has been largely to the fact that the Labour Department has been a respected and responsible mediator in matters of industrial relations,” said Prime Minister Harris. “Indeed their own involvement in the Lutron Liamuiga Ltd matter resulted in the workers there being offered the most attractive redundancy and long service benefits ever been provided by an entity.”

The Honourable Prime Minister’s remarks have come in the wake of a worship service held on Sunday February 3 at the Faith Tabernacle Church of God in Green Tree Housing Project, Old Road, where the 2019 Work Plan of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Ecclesiastical Affair was launched.

“I want to commend the Senior Minister in the Federal Government and Minister of Labour, Social Security and Ecclesiastical Affairs, the Hon Vance Amory, and the Department of Labour for undertaking the special service on Sunday,” said Dr Harris, who also attended the worship service. “It is part of their effort of refocusing the staff and also assisting the national community in recognising the critical role which the Labour Department has been playing and wishes to continue to play in the future.”

According to the Prime Minister, what was achieved by the Department of Labour shows their usefulness even in difficult times facing the workers, who have oftentimes confused the department with a trade union. That is so as the department has acted as an honest and an unbiased broker in labour relations, where it is neither instinctively on the side of labour or employer, and applying the labour laws to ensure social justice.

Even though St. Kitts and Nevis has one of the highest minimum wages within the region, the Labour Department has been coordinating the efforts at a review of minimum wages. As part of the policy prescription of the government to explore every avenue, and to improve the conditions of work, Labour Minister Amory has through the Labour Department began consultations within the tripartite regime of Labour, employer, and the Department to have discussions regarding a review.

“We want that process to go to a satisfactory conclusion, and then the recommendations will come forward for action,” said Dr Harris. “I want in that regard to thank the other parties, the trade unions that are a part, the employers who are a part, the business community and the Department itself because I am advised the discussions so far have been very constructive and very helpful.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Ecclesiastical Affairs Mr Ron Dublin-Collins, said that the launching of the ministry’s work plan in a church setting, as they sought God’s guidance and blessings for the year, was the second in a row having launched the 2018 work plan at the Zion Moravian Church in Basseterre.

“The church service encourages the unified efforts of the ministry,” explained Mr Dublin-Collins. “We are seeking to be a model for the rest of civil service in terms of our performance (and) in terms of our organisation of standards because we are dealing with labour standards. So it must be first permanent and obvious in the Department of Labour.”

At the worship service Senior Minister the Hon Vance Amory made a monetary contribution to the church which was received by Bishop and Senior Pastor Joseph Henville. According to Permanent Secretary Mr Ron Dublin-Collins, the contribution was part of Community Outreach Assistance Programme the ministry is doing in partnership with all churches in St. Kitts and Nevis.

The Ministry provides assistance, financial and otherwise, to churches that are hosting outreach programmes with the communities in terms of youth development, feeding the poor and hungry among others. The donation to the Faith Tabernacle Church of God in Green Tree Housing Project, Old Road, was to assist in the outreach programmes that they are doing for the communities around them.

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