#Bahamas, September 26, 2017 – Nassau – As the Department of Labour continues to fulfill its’ mission of fostering good industrial relations between employers and employees, while promoting high levels of employment, the Department facilitated a two-day “Productivity Legislation Workshop” from September 20 – 21, 2017. The workshop, sponsored by the International Labour Organization and the National Tripartite Council, brought all social partners to the table to discuss the state of productivity and competitiveness in The Bahamas. Social partners included executives of The Bahamas Department of Labor as well as participants from various trade unions, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce & Employers Confederation, corporations and other local agencies.
On Wednesday, 21st September, at the opening ceremony of the two day workshop, brief remarks were given by representatives from each pillar of the National Tripartite Council including Mr. Bernard Evans, President of the National Congress of Trade Unions Bahamas (NCTUB); Mr. Peter Goudie, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce & Employers Confederation (BCCEC); Mr. Tyrone “Rock” Morris, Secretary General, Commonwealth of The Bahamas Trade Union Congress (CBTUC) and Mr. Kelvin Sergeant, ILO Specialist for Sustainable Enterprise & Job Creation.
Mr. Bernard Evans stated in remarks at the opening that after more than 20 years of advocacy for implementation of the Productivity Council here in The Bahamas, it would provide hope in an effort to save a generation of unskilled, unprepared working Bahamians who are ill-equipped to compete on a level both regionally and internationally. He noted that the main objective of the two day workshop would be to bring together key stakeholders in the various sectors to strategize on productivity improvement and competitiveness with special focus on private sector; to develop a National Action Plan for Productivity Development in The Bahamas.
Mr. Evans stated that the plan should outline the performance priority areas, the key indicators of performance on all islands and also focus on a system for monitoring performance and assignment of responsibilities by all stakeholders. Also, to establish a Bahamian organization of Productivity Agents that will promote the development of productivity and performance-related activities to facilitate regional and international competitiveness and sustainability in production of goods and services within all of our islands. This, he noted, will improve the quality of life for workers and citizens alike. Mr. Evans suggests that legislation is a start and is hopeful that the current Government administration will commit to putting necessary legislation in place to begin the process.
Similarly, Mr. Kelvin Sergeant, ILO Specialist for Sustainable Enterprise & Job Creation is pleased with productivity becoming a critical word in The Bahamas over the past few years. He is encouraged that there are a broad range of voices – from politicians and business groups to economists, academics and unions – who are talking about productivity and what should be done to get performance up to speed. He noted that in order to achieve the acceleration of productive growth in The Bahamas, it requires a country-specific mix of policies aimed at creating an environment conducive to sustainable enterprises, building human capital in basic education including technical and core skills, encouraging the application of decent and productive workplace practices, addressing sector-specific challenges, promoting environmental-friendly technology and ways of doing business.
Mr. Sergeant specifically noted that the focus for the two day workshop would be frank discussions on the importance of productivity performance and what the productivity challenges are in The Bahamas. The interventions needed at all levels of productivity improvement, including the need for legislation to establish a national productivity council is also a paramount focus.
The Minister of Labour, Senator the Hon. Dion A. Foulkes officially opened the workshop by thanking the ILO Team, including Claudia Coenjaerts and Kelvin Sergeant, for their exceptional job in executing the mandate of the ILO in the region. Minister Foulkes stated that the Government of The Bahamas cannot achieve the goal of increasing economic growth through National Productivity by itself, therefore he congratulated the organizers of the workshop and pledged the Government’s full commitment to continue to work with the International Labour Organization, the National Tripartite Council and all of the social partners to fully implement a National Productivity Council. Minister Foulkes declared the historic workshop open and noted that he looked forward to the results of the deliberations over the two days.
The workshop was held at the Department of Labour on Rosetta Street and included discussions and work sessions on The State of Productivity and Competitiveness in The Bahamas, Understanding Productivity and its relation to economic growth and Economic Transformation and Policy Reponses.
Director of Labour, Mr. A. Robert Farquharson advised that he was pleased with the work completed during the workshop and looks forward to presenting the results to the Minister.
Press Release: Department of Labour
Header: Group of workshop participants representing the Department of Labour, ILO, National Tripartite Council and other social partners.
1st insert: Workshop participants at the National Productivity Legislation Workshop.
2nd insert:Peter Goudie, presenting to the workshop participants.
3rd insert: Workshop Facilitator, Kelvin Sergeant, ILO Specialist for Sustainable Enterprise & Job Creation presenting to the workshop participants.