ILO regional director concludes Caribbean visit

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- "Important discussions need to be had on how to diversify the economy and create new sources of growth and new engines of job creation," said the director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for Latin America and the Caribbean, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, during a two-day official visit to Trinidad and Tobago.
 
During his first visit to the Caribbean since becoming director of the ILO Regional Office in June 2015, Salazar met with government officials including, Senator Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, minister of labour and small enterprise development; Frances Seignoret, acting permanent secretary, ministry of foreign and CARICOM affairs; employers' and workers' representatives; and UN officials.
 
Salazar-Xirinachs attended the first meeting of the Trinidad and Tobago bipartite forum with Claudia Coenjaerts, director of the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean, held on 16 February 2015 in St Clair, Trinidad. The meeting was organized by the Employers' Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ECATT) and the National Trade Union Centre of Trinidad and Tobago (NATUC), and supported by the ILO Office for the Caribbean under an EU-funded project.
 
"I was very pleased to participate in this bipartite dialogue, initiated by the employers' and workers' organizations of Trinidad and Tobago. The economic situation in the Caribbean is complex, as it is in many Latin American countries. Trinidad and Tobago has been hit by the deceleration in the world economy, by the low price of oil, by the low prices of commodities and this dialogue between the social partners is absolutely essential. The ‘Global Jobs Pact’ of the ILO negotiated by the tripartite partners in 2009, is very relevant now in this new crisis," said Salazar-Xirinachs.
 
Salazar-Xirinachs highlighted the three priorities for the ILO's work in the region: productive development policies for inclusive growth with more and better jobs; a regional strategy to promote the transition from the informal to the formal economy; and the respect and application of international labour standards and labour legislation.