PHILIPSBURG–Representatives of the St Maarten Tripartite Committee recently
attended the 19th American Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Panama City from October 1 to 5.
. The meeting was themed: Preparing the future of work we want in the Americas, through social dialogue.
“Social dialogue is key to ensuring that countries move forward in the most productive and inclusive manner, raising productivity levels and social standards. Sint Maarten is a forerunner in the region, being one of the Caribbean islands having a full tripartite delegation at the meetings, regular tripartite discussions, relatively low labour unrest and the ability to amicably construct a tripartite consensus document that considers the concerns of all workers and employers,” Minister of Health, Labour and Social Affairs Emil Lee said.
The meetings brought together the political, economic and social actors, represented by members of governments, workers’ and employers’ representatives. Additionally, the meetings highlighted the impact and undying need for effective and continued social dialogue, labour productivity and efficient labour market preparedness to ensure “the future of work we want.”
The Sint Maarten delegation participated in several discussions that have proven relevant to addressing St. Maarten labour market conditions. Lee said it was a fruitful trip as the delegation was able to exchange and expand on these topics with regional counterparts. “The discussions at the event will benefit our local policy making capacity and also offer the country the needed support towards implementation of these policies while in the process of rebuilding our economy.”
The ILO is set to render advice on the extent of maternity and paternity leave to be established in Sint Maarten, which will be presented to Parliament. In line with proper tripartism and supporting the social partners; identifying and recognising employers’ organisations and ensuring training to employers and workers representatives will be a priority of the Ministry of Labour.
The Sint Maarten delegation also got an opportunity to meet with Director General of the ILO Guy Ryder. During this meeting, Lee expressed the need for ILO to focus more specifically on the necessities of the Caribbean region, particularly post Hurricane Irma. Though economic dynamism and innovation is high in the region, productivity remains low. The first consensus document on labour reform for Sint Maarten was also presented during this meeting. Lee spoke about the importance of social dialogue and gave a brief synopsis of the first consensus document, which was the result of lengthy tripartite discussions.
The workers’ and employers’ representatives supported these statements by acknowledging the importance of the consensus document and emphasized their desire to receive assistance and/or support from the ILO to be formally trained and locally institutionalized, Lee said.
The St Maarten delegation comprised Lee, who headed the delegation, Acting Head of the Labour Department Linda Froston; Legal Advisor at the Department of Labour Levinus Dijkstra and Policy Advisor at the Department of Labour Nikima Hickinson, all representing government and workers’ representatives Nataly Frans and Sophia Rismay Peterson and employers’ representative Shervin Frederick.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/81746-labour-tripartite-attends-ilo-conf