EU pumps US$2m in Caribbean labour projectSunday, March 08, 2015
PORT OF SPAIN (ILO) — A US$2 million (1.7 million Euro) project, signed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) with funding from the European Union in December 2014, was formally launched with the Caribbean Employers' Confederation (CEC) and the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) at the 9th Caribbean Ministers of Labour Meeting in Nassau, Bahamas.
"The ILO is very pleased to be involved in this project to support both regional and national social dialogue, with members from organisations representing employers and workers, as well as government representatives. We see this project as ensuring policy coherence contributing to regional economic and social integration," stated Giovanni di Cola, Director, ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean.
Last month a planning meeting was held in Port of Spain, comprising five board representatives, each from the CEC and the CCL, as well as members of the ILO Office DWT and Office for the Caribbean.
At this meeting a schedule of activities was agreed on which will run during the first 12 months of the project.
The activities will serve to strengthen workers' and employers' organisations to engage more effectively in social dialogue at the regional level. The aim of the project is to enable consultation and exchange of information between representatives of governments, employers and workers on issues of regional interest relating to economic and social policy, and to contribute to policy setting in regional forums pursuant to the EPA's Social Chapter.
"This initiative should lift the cooperation between Caribbean governments, labour, and business to a new level, and thereby significantly impacting regional integration and our overall economic and social development," said Wayne Chen, President of the CEC.
The project, which is financed under the 10th European Development Fund, is aimed at strengthening the implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, particularly those aspects relating to core labour standards (freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; the effective abolition of child labour; and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation), as well as to deepening regional integration.
The project will focus on reinforcing the human and institutional capacity of the CEC and the CCL, to contribute to the effective implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed in 2008.
The project has been designed to strengthen capacity in the 15 Caribbean Community member states of CARIFORUM, to ensure the voice of business and labour is heard in all forums where policy-related, social and economic issues are discussed.
"As President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, I am truly proud to be at the start of the implementation of the EU-funded programme, at the end of which we will see greater participation of CARIFORUM Civil Society in regional development and integration processes. The opportunity is great as both labour and employers work together for the advancement of the region," said David Massiah, President, CCL.
CEC is a regional organisation with members comprising of national representative bodies of employers in the 22 countries and territories of the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean. CCL is a regional trade union federation and represents members in 33 affiliated unions across 17 Caribbean nations.
The project "Support to facilitate participation of CARIFORUM Civil Society in the Regional Development and Integration Process: Challenges to CARIFORUM Labour, Private Sector and Employers to fulfil their EPA obligations" will run for three years.
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