Labour conditions in The Bahamas poised to improve as govt. signs agreement with ILO

PM Davis pledges commitment to establishing “harmony” in local labour market environment 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Working conditions in the nation could improve over the next five years as the government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the International Labour Organization (ILO) for a second-generation Bahamas Decent Work Country Programme for the period 2021 to 2026.

In delivering remarks at the official signing ceremony on Monday, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis hinted that the establishment of a “livable wage” as well as an increased national minimum wage could be among the changes to come.

A concept road sign reads, “Minimum wage increase up ahead.”

“Based on the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda — employment creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue — the relationship between The Bahamas and the ILO has been concentrated on addressing the country’s labour market vulnerabilities as well as [ensuring] that decent work is at the heart of national development in The Bahamas,” Davis said.

Giving further details on his administration’s intentions, the prime minister added, “I am extremely pleased to advise that my government, pursuant to the National Tripartite Council Act, 2015, has finalized its National Policy on Industrial and Labour Relations.

“This historic policy includes the adoption of the Bahamas Decent Work Country Programme, 2021 to 2026; the adoption of a National Child Labour Policy; the ratification of ILO Convention 159 regarding vocational rehabilitation and employment for disabled persons; establishment of a National Productivity Council; enactment of legislation to establish a livable wage and a comprehensive review of the Minimum Wage Act and an increase in the national minimum wage; [and] amendment of the law to cause the Industrial Tribunal to enforce its decisions.”


Labour market harmony

Bahamian Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis.

An official statement from the government noted that since coming to office, Prime Minister Davis had pledged to ensure “harmony in the Bahamian labour market”, with this agreement with the ILO for improved working conditions a step towards that goal.

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    Further hammering home this point, Davis said, “As I execute this historic memorandum of understanding with the ILO today, it signifies my government’s commitment [to] social dialogue and our steadfast desire to work with our social partners in national development.

    “I am confident that over the next five years, the ILO and the Bahamian government will take extraordinary steps to maintain harmony in the industrial relations environment in The Bahamas and work with our trade union and employers’ representatives to recover from the challenges associated with Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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