Government of Montserrat

UNITING WORKERS FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT- HON. LEWIS LABOUR DAY STATEMENT

Greetings to your Excellency, Hon Members of Parliament Deputy Governor, Union and staff association Presidents, Executives, Employers and workers.
 

I am proud to stand here to deliver a short message as Labour Minister and to participate in 2018 Labour Day celebrations organized by the Unions and staff Associations with the support of the Labour department of the Government of Montserrat.
 

The day is celebrated under the theme uniting workers for social and economic advancement. This I find relevant and timely. The unity referred to in this theme can be achieved once we practice the International Labour Organisation (ILO) tripartite approach between governments, employers, and workers organizations in the areas of employment, training, conditions of work and life, and industrial relations.
 

It is quite possible to achieve social progress by harmonizing worker, employer, and community interests through union representation, collective bargaining, and legislative protections.

 

The Government in the role as an employer, provides a noncontributory Pension plan along with matching social security payments and providing employment injury provision as a second safety net. Government continue to provide payment for its employees for a health insurance administered by the Montserrat Civil Service Association. This is an example of how government and Unions can work together for the greater good of workers. I do wish to see this collaborative approach continued. The above is some of the benefits available to Government workers.

 

The private sector employers provide its own benefits some contributory pensions, and social security safety net, while others choose contracts with gratuities.

 

Notwithstanding some benefits offered by both private and public sector employers, there is always room for improvement and adjustments to the ever changing conditions as the world of work evolve.

 

We must continue to provide Government scholarships, insist on succession planning, and ensuring we comply with Health and safety requirements.
While Government can legislate, monitor and enforce, managers and supervisors must never underestimate the power of good people skills.

 

Managers and supervisors must never forget the importance of lifting the moral of workers, empowering your team as this will not only foster job satisfaction but motivate staff to meet deadlines achieve targets and goals.We must not only pull up our staff when they fail. We must be quick to celebrate their achievements and let them know how much we appreciate them. A staff appreciation activity from time to time can go a long way in building team spirit while we show our genuine gratitude to our team for their outstanding performances.

 

I must congratulate the MCSA on the youth awards during which they rewarded members for excellence, for a given time period–it’s a step in the right direction. I must congratulate all managers and supervisors who have staff appreciation activities for their staff.

 

I do support the empowering excellence program initiated by Government. I do hope that it will grow from strength to strength as the program seek amongst other things, to provide improved customer service, increase efficiency and promote high standards of which we would all be proud of.

 

It gives me great pride, as compliments are in order for the Department of Labour; a small department of four, who carry the load of twice its size.
The department will soon be launching the Labour Market Information System (LMIS) which is expected to provide valuable data on the workforce in Montserrat. This will assist with better decision making on policies and programs.

 

The Radio Program “Labour and You” is aired on ZJB fortnightly. It is an interactive program during which both employers and employees can be educated and informed of Labour matters that may be of mutual benefit.The department is working on amendments to the Labour code which will provide further protection for workers in a number of areas. Private sector workers will welcome the amendments.

 

The Labour department is awaiting a report from the minimum wage task force to be shared with the Labour advisory board ,the Minister of Labour and Cabinet. I use this opportunity to thank the chairman and all members of the minimum wage task force for work done so far.

 

Government continue to support the need for a job evaluation exercise, the results of which can be the answer for better salaries within Government. The collective bargaining agreement between Government and Union will provide an opportunity for improved conditions of service.

 

As minister of Labour, I continue engaging and discussing with potential investors on investments that will create jobs during and after implementation. Once some of these investments become a reality, they will provide much needed employment in the private sector. Engaging the private sector and facilitating private investments is critical to the world of work creating jobs in addition to those provide presently.

 

I made a call last year Labour Day. I am making the same call again this Labour day, hopefully this time it does not fall on deaf ears. The Social Security, Bank of Montserrat and Government joint venture for government accommodations is long overdue. The success of this venture will improve the working environment, creating jobs, stimulate economic activity and the list goes on. This is an obvious opportunity for national entities to invest local money in Montserrat to provide an office accommodation solution, in what is a safe investment with returns on investment made.

 

In concluding, to all Employers, Unions , workers and Government, as Minister of Labour, I express my appreciation and gratitude to the role you have played towards social and economic advancement over the last year and trust we will continue in the tripartite spirit working together to rebuild our island.

 

Thank you.

 

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