Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 25, 2019 (SKNIS): Employees of the Ministry and the Department of Labour were briefed on some of the successes of the government entity in 2018 and areas where improvement is necessary during a strategic meeting session that was held on Thursday, January 24, 2019, at the Conference Room of the Solid Waste Management Agency.
The session was chaired by Permanent Secretary, Ron Dublin-Collins, and featured remarks from Labour Commissioner, Shernel James, and Senior Minister, Honourable Vance Amory, who heads the ministry. Unit heads within the department also reported on their specific areas.
Commissioner James highlighted some of the new programmes that will be implemented later this year including a summer employment programme, and training for persons entering the world of work for the first time.
Senior Minister Amory thanked the staff for its efforts in 2018 and challenged staff members to be ready for a robust schedule in 2019. He noted that the leadership of the ministry expects to see increases in the number of workplace inspections, and worker verification checks to ensure that the rules governing the protection of employment and occupational safety and health are being observed.
“You will also be working under the auspices of the [National] Tripartite Committee to get that all encompassing and necessary Labour Code completed,” Minister Amory stated, noting that he hopes to see the process concluded by mid-year “so that it can guide what we do as a Ministry of Labour in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Fifteen pieces of legislation are being consolidated to create a Labour Code which will set the way forward in dealing with various matters related to the field. As such, the knowledge base of the staff on such matters will be important.
“In order to maximise the effectiveness of the Ministry and the Department of Labour, I have advised the permanent secretary and the commissioner to ensure that all of you as members of staff of this ministry are cross-trained, that is have knowledge of as many areas of the department as possible,” he said. “This will prevent any delays should anyone be forced by absence, illness or being on leave or for whatever reason not be able to be there to deal with a matter.”
The senior minister said the training will help the officers to become even more efficient employees and the knowledge will serve them well should they take up another role within government.
He assured the employees that the leadership of the ministry and the department will continue to support the staff’s professional development and was confident that in 2019 “they will be doing some good things.”