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Layoffs ‘first phase of reform’


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The recent separation of workers from the Public Service must not be seen merely as retrenchment, but as the first phase in modernising the public sector.

Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations Colin Jordan said Barbados could not achieve a 21st century service ethos by sticking to rules, regulations and structures with “old wineskins” that have not changed much since Independence. He was addressing the consultation on human resource development at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.

Noting that the comment was not designed to trivialise or minimise the hurt and pain still felt by those who have lost their jobs, the minister said that Government was in the process of detailing a modernisation programme with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Jordan acknowledged that the programme was intended to utilise many of the people who recently lost their clerical positions in the public sector and said the IDB initiative, sometimes referred to as a digitisation programme, was expected to result in a “complete modernisation”.

Labour market

He pointed out that his ministry, like the Ministry of Education, had a national focus and consequently its policies were designed to effect changes in the quality of workers, as well as in the regulation of the labour market.

The human resource, or workforce, development, he said, must move beyond just education and training and promote the ambition of an efficient and effective labour market where employers are able to obtain the skills that they need and job seekers are able to get the jobs they like and can succeed in.

Explaining that workforce development was an element of “lifelong learning” firmly grounded in business need and including both formal and informal learning, Jordan stressed that employability, a core objective in Barbados’ original human resource development strategy 2011-2016, must again be a signal outcome, with lifelong learning the bridge that facilitates continued employability. ( BGIS)