Column: ILO Conference “The Future Of Work”

February 23, 2019

[Opinion column written by BTUC President Jason Hayward]

On February 14 and 15, 2019, as a part of the International Labour Organization’s [ILO] Centenary Initiative, I had the pleasure of joining a tripartite group of stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago for the Sub-Regional Conference themed: “The Future of Work We Want: Workers’ Perspectives from the Caribbean”. The dialogue was centered around the Report of the ILO Independent Global Commission on the Future of Work.

The Global Commission on the Future of Work was co-chaired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. The Commission was established in 2017 as part of the ILO’s Future of Work Centenary Initiative. The independent 27-member Commission included leading global figures from businesses, trade unions, think-tanks, government and non-governmental organisations.

The Commission’s Report outlines a vision for a human-centred agenda that is based on investing in people’s capabilities, institutions of work and in decent, sustainable work. The agenda consists of three [3] pillars of action which, in combination, aims to drive growth, equality and sustainability for present and future generations. The report contains ten [10] recommendations:

1. Increase investment in people’s capabilities

  • a. Lifelong learning for all
  • b. Supporting people through transition
  • c. A transformative agenda for gender equality
  • d. Strengthening social protections

2. Increase investment in institutions of work

  • a. Establishing a universal labour guarantee
  • b. Expanding time sovereignty
  • c. Revitalising collective representation
  • d. Technology for decent work

3. Increase investment in decent and sustainable work

  • a. Transforming economies for decent and sustainable work
  • b. Shifting incentives towards a human-centered business and economic model

Stakeholders discussed the unique issues facing the countries of the Caribbean Sub-Region. Participants considered possible policies that can be adopted and implemented for the promotion of social justice and protection of the rights of workers.

Tripartite stakeholders accepted that there is an ever-increasing need for meaningful social dialogue. Unions have always had a human-centered agenda and have remained on the forefront of social justice. As a result, Unions were well-poised to discuss the issues that impact the future world of work in the region, namely: youth unemployment, income inequality, the gender pay gap, ageing populations, the increase use of informal working agreements and the impact of technological advances. Reasonable consideration was given to the priorities highlighted in the Commission’s Report and how they can assist with remedying identified challenges.

I was able to provide intervention on the dialogue centered on the role of the state. I articulated that the state is critical and through the social contract with its citizenry, the Government has an obligation to ensure that all in society have a respectable quality of life. Growth, equality and sustainability can only be achieved by addressing the issues that hinder and undermine the social and economic development of Bermuda. Tripartite stakeholders have a collective responsibility to ensure that everyone lives decent and dignified lives.

The call for us to embrace the need for quality public services is greater than ever before. Our public service will undoubtably play a vital role in the implementation of Government policy initiatives necessary to create a long-term sustainable path to the future world of work that we desire.

Through its Workers’ Agenda, the Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC] have been actively advocating for the following policy objectives:

  • unemployment insurance;
  • the development of a living wage;
  • creation of a national workforce development plan;
  • a plan to address youth unemployment;
  • addressing age discrimination in employment;
  • reforming labour legislation.

These policy objectives coupled with the BTUC’s calls for employment and pay equity are in direct alignment with the recommendations of the Commission’s Report. With the Government already committing to many of these items, Bermuda has positioned itself as one of the most progressive and assertive jurisdictions in the region when it comes to tackling challenges faced with the future world of work.

- Jason Hayward


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Comments (5)

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  1. Bill says:

    World bank has trini as highest gdp in the Americas and tabago relies on energy sector for much of its’ economic a tivity.

  2. Mumbojumbo says:

    Wheras…here…a job would be quite nice wouldn’t it?
    Maybe soon…then you can ask my opinion.

  3. Mumbojumbo says:

    Hey trinidad…tobago….this plp representative is with the government that just raised our grocery cost 70%.
    I will soon be fishing for food.

  4. Mumbojumbo says:

    Show me work.

    Stop talking.

    Show me.

  5. Question says:

    I hope we’re not paying for this idiot to fly around attending utter BS conferences like this. Union members should pay for this crap.