The International Labour Organization (ILO) is hosting a capacity-building workshop in Guyana which began yesterday and will go up to tomorrow.
A release yesterday from the ILO said that the purpose of the workshop is to improve the capacity of government officials to effectively plan, prepare and write vital national reports on international labour standards.
Government officials from thirteen Caribbean member States are attending including: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. Additionally, there are representatives from the Guyana Trades Union Congress and one representative from the Consultative Association of Guyana Industry.
For a number of years, local groups have queried whether adequate reports are being done on workplace deaths, child labour and related matters.
According to Shingo Miyake, ILO Specialist on International Labour Standards and Labour Law, who is the primary facilitator, “The training allows participants to learn or refresh their memory on the reporting procedures for international labour standards (ILS). We have noticed that countries have real challenges with reporting, especially reports on the implementation of ratified Conventions, which are the main ones. We recognise that Labour departments within Ministries tend to be small and simply do not have sufficient manpower to prepare the ILS reports. ILO assists so they can work more efficiently.”
The APNU+AFC administration has faced a number of questions about what has been seen as a miniaturisation of the labour function by removing its ministry status. The labour division now functions in the Ministry of Social Protection.
“When countries fail to submit national reports they miss a golden opportunity to provide important information on their progress but also the stumbling blocks. Timely reporting to the ILO opens the door for useful feedback from the Committee of Experts. When countries submit their reports on time, there can be in-depth discussion by the Committee about how they are fulfilling their obligations and suggestions for successful strategies towards achieving their goals. Countries could use this feedback to improve their law and practice, and these improvements can be further reported. There would then be a positive cycle of dialogue”, Miyake said.