Private sector representatives as well as those representing different unions in Belize shared their thoughts on social and economic policy development, during a National tripartite Workshop that was held this morning at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina in Belize City. The workshop was facilitated by the International Labor Organization as part of a series of national workshops under a three year project being funded by the European Union. The workshop was a also a collaboration with the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation which was represented by Director, Raymond Eytle and the Caribbean Congress of Labour, David Massiah. Also forming part of the workshop was the President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, Marvin Mora, the President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arturo Vasquez and Labor Commissioner Ivan Williams.
Arturo Vasquez – President, BCCI
“Primarily I think what we have seen as one of the concerns really is the fact that the level of education and employment, when you employ there are some employees who are lacking the skills in several instances. In particular I made a point where I think it’s more on the technical side the ITVETs the vocational training is also an area that needs to be improved in our opinion as the chamber because it is in that area that you find that you have to import all of the skills at times. The educational curricula is being improved but while we can understand the educational policies that are in place there is a lot of need for vocational and technical skills and that is where I made my remarks in that that is something the chamber is concerned and would like to see more improvements in it.”
Marvin Mora – President, NTUCB
“We have identified several issues of amongst which occupational health and safety, the social security issues and others are highlighted and that’s why we are here to try and find out what CSME is doing so that it can be addressed, what mechanisms are there in place, if there are none how we can contribute to establish some.”
Raymond Eytle – Director, Caribbean Employers’ Confederation
“What we are really promoting is social dialogue, this is the dialogue between the employers and the workers in terms of putting together out labor related matters on the table, on the forefront and we hope to do so on a number of pillars such as through this program which is part of the education program moving around bringing people up to date with the issues and the framework on which we operate because things have been happening in different countries over time we heard the labor commissioner talk about some of the structures they have in Belize and some of the other similar structures in countries in the region.”
David Massiah – Caribbean Congress of Labour
“Labor issues vary from country to country, it depends on the maturity at times of the various labor unions and the employers in those areas to have issues resolved in a very amicable way. What we are doing from this through this process is to engender and foster the social dialogue mechanism that is to ensure that all of us are on the same level playing field.”
Ivan Williams – Labour Commissioner
“And as a consequence of that the EU and the ILO partnered together and is successful now in the implementation of a project to do just that, to create an awareness among not only the Caribbean Employers Confederation and their Affiliates. The ministers of the Caribbean Labor Ministers in March of this year recognized that there is a need to build capacity among the major stakeholders that is the employers and workers in respect of the obligations under the CARIFORUM EU Economic Partnership agreement. So they committed at the labor minister’s meeting in March of this year to seek to build the capacities among the employers and the workers in understanding their roles and functions within the IPA.”
Similar workshops have been held across the Caribbean.