Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 3rd 2015 Contents decent work."
She said the second pillar is the rights at work.
"We want to make sure that all workers obtain
healthy working conditions and can work under
acceptable rights, under acceptable standards. To do
that we have a vast amount of international labour
standards. This is one of the things that makes the
ILO a special organisation. We have 189 conventions
and we have 204 recommendations. The labour stan-
dards cover almost all the areas of the world of work
and they are based on a consensus as they are devel-
oped on big discussions between workers and employ-
The third pillar is social protection.
"We look at safety and health but also it is also
about protecting workers if they lose their jobs. It is
all about having social safety nets. If people do not
have jobs, there must be an income."
The fourth pillar she said is social dialogue.
"This what makes the ILO a different organisation
because we do not just work with governments but
we work with three parties, which are governments,
employers representatives and worker representatives.
We say all the actors in societies. In issues of the
world of work we always want consensus and it is
important to have perspectives of employers but also
of workers to come to that middle field and that is
what we call the Decent Work Agenda. "
She said the ILO has a machinery on how to enforce
labour standards in countries around the world.
"A country is not bound to every ILO international
labour standard. If the workers, government and busi-
ness of a particular country say they will ratify con-
vention 189 for domestic workers, then it has to pass
through the country s parliament and must be ratified.
Then it is expected that a country s legislation will
be in line with the ILO s convention. The country
then need to report on its progress."
Commenting on the local labour laws, she said the
ILO is happy to know that T&T s new government
will be reviewing the Industrial Relations Act (IRA).
"This has been very important for employers and
for the workers. Modernising the labour legislation
is a commitment not only for T&T but other countries
as well. In the ILO s last meeting for the Caribbean,
the 9th ILO Meeting of the Caribbean Minsters of
Labour, we dealt with legislation and updating it was
one of the six priorities for countries to work on."
She said from the ILO s perspective, changes in the
labour legislation must be based on social dialogue.
"The final decision is a decision that will be made
by those who are appointed to make those decisions
but there must be a serious social dialogue and the
point of views of employers and workers are important.
So, the ILO does not come in and say this is right
and this is wrong. We think the right way is the way
of social dialogue.
"At the same time, since a component of the labour
law is to make sure that when it comes to the ability
to strike or to form associations, it is important that
the labour legislation is fully aligned. In T&T, labour
thinks that there are some areas that it is difficult at
times for unions to be effective and those areas should
be reviewed in the IRA."
She said this is why the tripartite dialogue is so
important because the country needs to modernise
labour legislation to be in line with the realities of
the global changes. It should not erode workers rights.
She said T&T and other countries in the region
have really tried to ensure that workers rights are
"Trying to modernise labour legislation several
countries feel very concerned that they are going to
give up all the assurances that workers had in the
past. You must have the fine line where labour leg-
islation is not an impediment for investment."
She added that the labour law enforcement seem
to be better adhered to in T&T than in other coun-
"There is less of a visible informal economy. It is
there but the extent to which it exists is certainly
much less than other areas. Areas like human traf-
ficking, we hope the Government would be proactive
so we are not derailed."
She believes tripartism and good industrial relations
are critical in difficult times.
"At times we only understand how important it
is when difficulties are coming up. It takes time to
develop this and trust and how you build assurance
that it is part of decision and policy making."
In T&T, the ILO has been working with the different
stakeholders and a document has come out of this
"The ILO Convention 144 is a convention on tri-
partism and it requires that the Government has a
mechanism to implement it. In March 2015, T&T
came up with a document, Working Towards Sus-
tainable Development in T&T. The document went
through lot of discussion and includes issues as pro-
ductivity, the IRA, youth employment. It look com-
prehensively at a lot of issues and the ILO supported
She said social dialogue goes beyond mere looking
at industrial relations grievances.
"How are you going to address youth employment?
"How is the labour market going to respond the
climate change and the greeting of the economy?
"Those are areas we think it is extremely important
to have social dialogue."
DECEMBER 3 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COVER STORY | BG5
From Page 4
director of the
Team and Office
for the Caribbean
Tripartite dialogue is so
important because the
country needs to
legislaation to be in line
with the realities of the
global changes. It should
not erode workers'
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