Officials at the ILO confirmed that among the conventions ratified are those that deal with non-discrimination, no child labour, no forced labour, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
In order to help the country improve the level of cooperation and collaboration between various stakeholder groups, two ILO officials, have recently been in the country to assist local authorities. Their focus was on ensuring the best protection possible and fostering the best working relationship between employers and employees in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, a PhD in International Law and Director of International Labour Standards Department of the International Labour Organization (ILO), accompanied by International Labour Standards and Labour Law Specialist Mr. Pierre-Francois Recoing, met with a number of key persons regarding ILO matters including Labour Commissioner Mr. Spencer Amory, last Friday.
According to Dr. Henry, the nature of their visit was primarily to engage in tripartite discussions into how St. Kitts and Nevis is dealing with the international standards to which it agreed from the almost 400 international treaties by which the ILO operate to deal with the world of work. They were also here to strengthen the mission and mandate of the ILO in promoting social justice.
“I’m here in St. Kitts to look at how I can support the government, and the employers and workers organizations in looking at what they have already achieved by ratifying nine of the ILO Conventions since St. Kitts and Nevis became a member state of the ILO in 1996, how can they better implement their obligations, or the issues that have been identified by the ILO monitoring bodies, and how we could help them close what I would call the implementation gap” explained Dr. Henry.
Dr. Henry sees one of her many tasks as being that of helping countries to move along the social staircase of improving protections and benefits for employees, and ensuring the sustainability of employers and their enterprises. In addition, she helps to identify gaps in this protection and propose suggestions as to how these gaps can be filled. She also identifies out-of-date instruments and gives the governing body of the ILO the relevant information to make adaptations and adjustments to the existing body of standards.
Dr Henry added that the ILO has a complex system of supervision which monitors how every country that joins the organization implements the obligations they undertake once they have signed on to certain international treaties. It also provides, through the department of International Labour Standards, technical assistance to countries encountering difficulties in compliance through legislative advice, awareness raising or training and capacity building.