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Department of Labour hosts consultation on Labour Relations Bill

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Consultations on the proposed Labour Relations Bill have been hailed “significant” by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Sandra Davis.{{more}}

The proposed Labour Relations Bill seeks to promote rights at work for both employers and employees, encourage collective bargaining, and freedom of association.

Davis disclosed that the Labour Relations Bill was drafted in 2001 with respect to fulfilling obligations to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other agencies with which St. Vincent and the Grenadines has signed conventions.

She further stated that the proposed Labour Relations Bill is a priority of the Ministry of Labour to promote a decent work agenda.

President of the National Labour Congress, Noel Jackson, said that he was pleased that discussions have recommenced on the proposed Labour Relations Bill. Jackson noted that he had always felt that there was a need for a code for employers and employees.

The National Labour Congress President expressed hope that all stakeholders will be present at the consultation so that the process can move forward.

Member of the Executive of the St. Vincent Employees Federation, Don Providence, said members of his organization view themselves as partners in this process to take the country forward. He noted that they have moved from a position of confrontation to cooperation and that any bill to improve conditions would be welcomed.

Meanwhile, Minister of Labour, Rene Baptiste, said that the deliberations brought them closer to the passage of the proposed Labour Relations Bill. Minister Baptiste said that the technical specialists at the ILO inspected the Bill and thereafter made a number of recommendations, one of which was to share the ILO’s comments with social partners.

Baptiste said that the ILO listed several sections of the Bill that should be reviewed: section four, basic employee rights; section six, protection of trade unions from employers’ interference; and section nine, membership – the right of a person to become a member.

The consultations lasted for three (3) hours and will continue at a date and time to be decided by participants.

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