BASSETERRE, St Kitts – Senior Minister and Minister of Labour, Vance Amory, addressed the General Assembly at the 108th Session of the International Labour Conference Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, amid the changing landscape in the world of work, announced that St Kitts and Nevis is doing its part to ensure the workforce is prepared to adapt to the dynamics of a new environment, and to seize the benefits that are created.
“In St Kitts and Nevis, we have begun the process of encouraging our people to prepare for the inevitable change in the structure of work by developing programmes of training and retraining our people to equip them for the future of work,” senior minister Amory said. “In addition, the ministry of labour and the ministry of education in conjunction with the national tripartite committee have established a new structure to upgrade all workers and prepare them to meet the challenges which confront them in respect of the future of work.”
Some of the factors driving the transformation in occupational areas include demography, technological improvements, climate change and the continued growth of robotics and artificial intelligence.
The minister of labour added: “The future of work is about people. It is about families and this transformation is about changing the attitude and the culture of people to accept the change and equip themselves to adapt to the new environment in the world of work. The future of work is about the improvement of the quality of life of our people even as they face the challenges posed by the changing socio-economic and the political environment.”
Since taking office in 2015, senior minister Amory has led many reforms to promote greater efficiency, justice and harmony in labour relations. This includes establishing a national tripartite committee consisting of representatives from government, employers and employees; strengthening the capacity and functionality of staff at the department of labour; initiating the process to establish a Labour Code.
Amory told the delegates at the International Labour Conference that St Kitts and Nevis recognises the importance of ensuring that institutions of learning are geared towards lifelong learning to strengthen the ability of the workforce to adapt to new opportunities that will be created in the future.
He also congratulated the International Labour Organization (ILO) on its centenary and expressed profound gratitude for its assistance in establishing the new Labour Code for St Kitts and Nevis.
Turning his attention to the private sector, Amory said it is vital for the private sector to play its part in creating jobs for future generations.
“It is imperative that the private sector becomes a leading partner in investing in the creation of new jobs for the future,” said senior minister Amory. “It is also necessary that all workers are accorded the dignity and social protection which is necessary for them to enjoy a good quality of life, earn a living wage and be able to provide the basic needs for a decent standard of living for their families and to have some savings for the future.”
He said that workers must remain a key focus in the changing environment.
“This is a challenge for the future of work that workers must feel that their participation in the economic activity in their country and the world is valued and they are able to share equitably in the economic benefits generated by their skills and by their labour,” the senior minister said.
Equally important, Amory stated that the youth population should also be taken into consideration.
“The future of work must also focus on our young people and seek to identify their talents and their skills and entrepreneurial capacities to become self-employed using the technology which already exists and we as governments to provide the support with resources to develop their new avenues of employment for the future,” he said.