Barbados has encountered some challenges in its reporting processes to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). However, every effort is being made to rectify this problem as soon as possible.
This assurance has come from Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who disclosed that up to 2012, there were 24 reports which were outstanding to the international body. At present, 11 of those reports were completed and 13 are outstanding.
She was speaking at the opening ceremony for a workshop on International Labour Standards and Reporting Obligations at the Warrens Office Complex yesterday.
Dr. Byer Suckoo explained that the challenge to the reporting process was that many of the questions and issues were under the purview of various ministries, departments and agencies.
“We recognise that one of the issues faced by the Ministry [of Labour] is that while we are the agency with reporting responsibility to ILO questionnaires, the Ministry is not always the designated national competent authority to speak to specific questions.
The Labour Minister pointed out that the three- day workshop would, therefore, sensitise persons about Barbados’ national duties with respect to reporting to the ILO and equip workers with the knowledge and skills necessary for providing, in a speedy and accurate manner, the requisite responses to observations and question.
Dr. Byer Suckoo also stressed that Barbados would not ratify any convention just for the sake of doing so, but it was also an issue of compliance and ensuring that the relevant legal and administrative frameworks were in place.
“We fully recognise that the level of a country’s labour standards and practices cannot be gauged simply by the number of conventions ratified. We also understand that there can be a high number of ratifications but a very low level of compliance on the ground with respect to the effective implementation of the provisions of the conventions which have been ratified,” she noted.
She added that with the proclamation of the Safety and Health at Work (SHaW) Act, Barbados could now turn its attention to ratifying two other critical conventions.
“With the proclamation of the SHaW Act, we were able in June this year to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, thus placing Barbados among the early countries to ratify this Convention that seeks to consolidate rights and conditions for seafarers.
“There now remains the Occupational Safety and Health Convention no. 155 and the Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention no. 184 for which my Ministry awaits the relevant submissions in order to advance the process of ratification,” Dr. Byer Suckoo said.