Law and labour must work together

“Where the government and the legal profession perform their roles optimally, greater social harmony and economic development are assured.” This view was expressed by Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development, the Honourable Errol McLeod, at the launch of the third Caribbean Course on International Labour Standards for judges, lawyers and legal educators. "This is why law and labour must work together, he added. “Law is not a subset of labour, neither is labour a subset of law, rather the two constructs complement each other as partners in championing the basic human rights of equity and fairness.”

Magistrates, industrial court judges and legal educators from 13 Caribbean countries participated in the one-week seminar, organized by the Turin Centre and the ILO last July in Port-of-Spain.

Her Honour, Deborah Thomas-Felix, President of the Industrial Court, commented that the training on International Labour Standards was timely, given the global economic climate: “Training programmes of this nature provide platforms for regional jurists, legal educators and specialists in labour law to come together not only to discuss and adopt fundamental labour principles but to exchange ideas and information which will ultimately redound to a harmonized approach to the resolution of employment and work-related issues in our region.  The Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago is very mindful of its role in social justice delivery and sustainable development and we are currently engaged in the continued strengthening of our capacity and competency as we adapt to a fast paced globalized world.”

International labour standards adopted by the ILO are used for the development of national legislation and strengthening domestic case law on labour matters. The seminar covered the international labour standards system, including international labour standards on freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, equality in employment and occupation, and termination of employment, as well as the work of the ILO’s supervisory bodies and its relevance to national judges and lawyers, while being an occasion for participants to share knowledge and practice.

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