The mission of the Ministry of Labour is to assist the Government and its Social Partners in promoting opportunities for the provision of decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom of association, equity, security and human dignity and to provide quality social and economic benefits for Barbadians.
To develop a Barbadian workforce, including persons with disabilities, that is well informed, properly trained and conditioned for the local, regional and extra-regional labour markets; to ensure that there is decent work for all people of working age and to create a climate that allows people to operate to their true potential through an environment of harmonious industrial relations, cordial conciliation and healthy working conditions; to facilitate an environment for fostering the establishment and growth of businesses of all sizes; to ensure that all aspects of child labour are eliminated and to minimize the impact of HIV/AIDS in the workplace and to encourage labour force diversity through the expansion and promotion of technical and vocational education and training.
- To support and encourage the creation of employment of acceptable quality by fostering a climate of harmonious industrial relations;
- To formulate policy and to implement legislation with a view to promoting rights at work and enhancing other employment conditions, relations and opportunities;
- To ensure an adequate supply of trained manpower in occupations in all branches of economic activity in Barbados;
- To explore opportunities for the employment of Barbadians in overseas markets;
- To maintain an efficient and effective labour market and human resource development information system with a view to optimizing the development, allocation and use of the human resource and to keep labour market imbalances to minimum levels.
* Statutory Board
The Ministry of Labour as an agency in its own right is responsible for the overall administration and coordination of all operations falling under the Minister of Labour’s portfolio. It is the major source of labour policy formulation and is expected to ensure that the Minister’s mandate is carried out. It is responsible for planning and the general administration of policies formulated by the Minister. It supervises and ensures that the requisite labour legislation and regulations that govern the operations under the Minister’s portfolio are in place, relevant to the changing needs of the workforce and are being enforced by the relevant agencies. It also acts as the main facilitator of the linkages that exists between itself and international organizations such as the International Labour Organisation (I.L.O).
MANPOWER RESEARCH & STATISTICAL UNIT
The Manpower Research and Statistical Unit (M.R.S.U) is the research arm of the Ministry of Labour . The Unit has as its primary objective, the delivery of timely labour market information to the public. This objective is executed through the management of the Barbados Labour Market Information System (BLMIS), a “clearing house” of labour information and statistics that was first launched in 1998.
The B.L.M.I.S presently consists of four (4) main components:
- A website found at www.labour.gov.bb, comprising a job seeking facility and modules pertaining to the policies and programmes of the Ministry of Labour.
- The collection, analysis and compilation of information for hard copy publications such as Statistical Bulletins, Newsletters and the Annual Statistical Digest.
- An outreach component which involves lectures, seminars, and special presentations to various users of labour market information namely secondary and tertiary institutions, unions, social groups, Government departments, etc.
- The conduct of studies to (i) fill existing information gaps in the Barbados labour market and (ii) assist in the development of labour related policies.
The work of the Unit reveals is of vital importance to national economic development, particularly in light of the several challenges confronting the Barbados Labour force. These challenges include, but are not limited to:
- Low levels of certification of employed persons
- High youth unemployment
- An aging labour force
- Skills Mismatching between labour supply and occupational areas demanded by employers in industry
- Insufficient job opportunities for the Disabled
- Unsatisfactory literacy, numeracy and communication skills demonstrated by employees in the workplace
- Limited physical capacity of training institutions
- Industrial Relations conflicts
- Unsatisfactory levels of productivity
- Poor attitudes and low levels of professionalism at the workplace
- Unsatisfactory and unhealthy conditions of work
- HIV/AIDS in the workplace
However, the Ministry believes that one of the biggest challenges confronting the labour force is the lack of access to accurate and timely information to effectively analyse and plan for future labour force development. To address this specific challenge, the Ministry believes that the research programme formulated by the MRSU could serve to make a vital contribution towards the moulding of a labour force that is not only well informed, but that is also (i) well educated (ii) flexible (iii) well trained and (iv) adaptable to the developments of a changing international environment. Moreover, the work activities of the MRSU could assist Government in attaining the ultimate objective of ensuring that there is decent work for all Barbadians of working age.
THE LABOUR DEPARTMENT
The Labour Department is a technical arm of the Ministry which was originally established as an Act of Parliament in 1941. Its establishment was recommended by the Moyne Commission that was created to investigate the 1937 riots. It is mandated to:
- Receive and investigate all representations whether of employers or of employees, made concerning any business trade, occupation or employment with a view to the settlement of disputes and grievances and to conciliation especially regarding hours and conditions of work and regulation of wages;
- Ensure the enforcement of the country’s labour laws;
- Advise Government with regard to the betterment of industrial relations and labour matters in general;
The Department also plays a critical role in the Social Partnership and oversees the various conventions of the I.L.O, ratified by Barbados. The function of the Labour Department is carried out by the three sub-divisions. These are:
- The Industrial Relations with responsibility for labour inspection and industrial relations;
- Occupational Safety and Health with responsibility for occupational health and safety;
- The National Employment Bureau with responsibility for the provision of local and overseas employment services.
THE TECHNICAL VOCATIONAL EDUCATION & TRAINING COUNCIL
The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council is the national training agency dedicated to improving the competitive position of Barbados through workforce development. Established by the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act, 1993-11 of the Laws of Barbados, the Council is mandated to plan, coordinate and establish standards and qualifications for technical and vocational education and training. The Act also states that such a strategy and plan shall identify outputs and priorities and recommend allocation of resources to implement the plan in the most cost effective manner. Since 1993, the Council has been laying the groundwork for a comprehensive TVET system aimed at making the Barbadian workforce highly skilled, capable of competing and winning in high value-added global markets.
Technical and vocational education and training is the principle engine of workforce development. It can be used as an arm of economic policy to support business competitiveness and growth and also can be used as an instrument of public policy to address equity concerns about disadvantages in the labour market.
The functions of the Council are, inter alia:
- To advise the Minister on policy relating to TVET
- To prepare plans and to ensure such plans are implemented
- To establish occupational standards, qualifications and accreditation and to make grants and loans for the support and provision of technical and vocational education and training
Employment and Training Fund This fund is managed and administered by the TVET Council. The purposes of the Employment and Training Fund are to provide financial assistance such as grants and loans for training and skills upgrading in addition to subsidizing the cost training incurred by employers in the training and re-training of employees in accordance with criteria established by the Council and to support training programmes in accordance with national priorities.
For additional information on the TVET Council, please go to http://www.tvetcouncil.com.bb
The Barbados Vocational Training Board is a TVET institution which is geared towards skills enhancement and retooling of the labour force. The Barbados Vocational Training Board administers four (4) main programmes. These are:
- Skills Training Programme
- The In-Plant Training Programme
- The Evening Programme
- The Apprenticeship Programme
Training opportunities are offered in a wide array of areas, including:
- The Automotive Trades
- Construction Trades
- Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Trades
- Agricultural Trades
- Business Trades
- Furniture Manufacturing
- Food Technology
- Information Technology
- Craft and Textile Trades
- Mechanical Engineering
- Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
For additional information on the Barbados Vocational Training Board, please go to http://www.bvtb.gov.bb