Message by the Hon. Colin E. Jordan, M.P.
Minister of Labour, Social Security and Third Sector
May Day, 2023
Today, on May 1, 2023 we join with millions around the world to observe International Workers’ Day, also referred to as Labour Day or May Day. It is a day on which trade unions celebrate all workers and their contribution by holding parades, rallies and other activities.
The theme for this year’s celebration is, “It’s about YoU”, a fitting choice as we recognize the contributions of working women and men to the economic and social development of our nation.
The Ministry of Labour, Social Security and the Third Sector acknowledges that it is indeed about you. Over the last five years we have addressed some of the pertinent issues that affect ‘YoU’ the worker – safety and health, workplace wellness, working conditions and industrial relations, to name a few. To do so, the Ministry worked closely with unions and other stakeholders.
In 2019, we approved the National Workplace Wellness Policy which guides action towards the promotion of health and wellness in the workplace. This year, an action plan will be rolled out to the public. In 2021, Government introduced, for the first time in Barbados’ history, a national minimum wage which guarantees a basic wage for all workers. In 2022, we ratified the International Labour Organization, Convention 190, on eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work.
In 2022, we also established regulations for the Safety and Health at Work Act, which clarified and codified provisions such as stipulating that drinking water should be available and accessible to all employees, safeguarding employees against exposure to excessive noise levels, requiring that Personal Protective Equipment be provided for workers, stating that there should be provisions of sanitary amenities for all workers, specifying that washing facilities for workers should be constructed so that workers can practice good hygiene in all work settings, and stipulating the provision of regular health monitoring for Fuel Station Attendants through annual medical examinations.
This year, using the Labour Clause (Public Contracts) Act, we established rates and conditions of employment for workers involved in contracts in the construction sector paid for by the taxpayers.
Our Ministry is currently reviewing the Protection of Wages Act which pertains to the non-payments of wages owed to an employee and the inclusion of more modern methods of payment. Analysis of social partner feedback on draft Trade Union Recognition legislation is ongoing. This legislation will guide the operations of the trade unions. Work is also ongoing on mordernising the Recruitment of Workers Act and the Labour Clauses (Public Contracts) Act.
The Ministry stands in solidarity with the workers of Barbados and will continue to craft legislation that protects you.
Brothers and sisters, on behalf of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and the Third Sector, I salute you.
Happy May Day Barbados!