Labour Relations to Be Strengthened With Official Appointment of a New Committee

Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 01, 2017 (SKNIS): Government’s efforts to strengthen the cordial labour relations in St. Kitts and Nevis will be enhanced with the official establishment of a Tripartite Committee.

A ceremony will be held on Thursday, September 14, at Government House that will see the appointment and presentation of instruments to the members, six of whom will represent the government while the workers’ union and employer’s representatives will each have three officials on the Committee.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Ron Dublin-Collins, said the legal basis for the committee was created with an amendment to the Protection of Employment Act No. 12. of 2013. The members will look at a variety of labour-related issues, give advice on articles and recommendations in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention, and ensure that the local work environment remains stable. The permanent secretary said there are two priority topics to be addressed.

“One is the new Labour Code – the first draft of that for parliament,” Mr. Dublin-Collins said. Government has signaled its intention to have legislative reform in order to update and group the necessary laws to create a Labour Code. Work has begun on this front.

The second priority area mentioned is the introduction of an annual Conference on Labour that will present an opportunity for all stakeholders to come together to discuss pertinent matters including migrant workers, severance payments, the Labour Code and more.

The senior government official said: “This information will help to form policy on labour related matters and we will hope that for the new year we will have not only a strong [Labour] Department that is more responsive to the various challenges that we have in the workplace, but also a workforce, be it from the employers or the employees themselves, that have a greater awareness of their rights and work together to improve conditions at work.”

Labour officials are hoping to host this conference in November 2017.

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