Strengthening the platform for the promotion of decent work both nationally and regionally is a primary focus for the Ministry. The International Affairs Unit is responsible for the co-ordination and management of activities which contribute to the fulfilment of the commitments of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in respect of international labour matters. These commitments arise from the country’s membership and activities in organisations such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
In the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the international, hemispheric and regional commitments of Trinidad and Tobago, and as a consequence, this development has led to heightened activity in respect of technical co-operation, international negotiations and bilateral relations. In that regard, an International Affairs Unit was established in April 2007 to manage the Ministry’s international initiatives in labour.
Responsibilities of the International Affairs Unit:
The work of the Unit covers a broad spectrum of activities which include:
- Facilitating the implementation of decisions and plans of action adopted in regional and international fora on labour matters and preparing to facilitate effective participation at labour meetings convened regionally and internationally.
- Preparation of reports for submission to international organisations to fulfil reporting obligations.
- Providing support as required to other Units and Divisions of the Ministry on international labour matters and responding to requests.
- Serving as a focal point on international labour issues for other Government Ministries, Employers and Workers organisations, International Organisations and Trinidad and Tobago Overseas Missions.
- Pursuit of initiatives for technical support and assistance for implementation of the Ministry’s Strategic Plan and Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) projects.
- Pursuing co-operation and other activities in support of the promotion of decent work in Trinidad and Tobago and adherence to international labour standards.
- Negotiation of technical co-operation agreements in support of the achievement of the Strategic Goals of the Ministry.
- Fulfillment of the obligations of Trinidad and Tobago as a member of the ILO, in particular reporting obligations on ratified and unratified Conventions and co-ordination of representation of Trinidad and Tobago at the annual International Labour Conference.
- Liaise with the ILO and other International Organisations for the provision of technical support and identification of consultants to assist in implementation of PSIP projects.
- Participation in activities to facilitate effective participation by Trinidad and Tobago in the Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labour (IACML) of the Organisation of American States (OAS).
- Participation in activities related to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
- Participation in national and international labour meetings.
- Liaising with other Ministries in respect of bilateral and multilateral labour commitments and negotiations.
- Monitoring of international developments, with special attention to labour and development issues.
Trinidad and Tobago has been a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) since 1963. The International Affairs Unit leads the Ministry’s activities in fulfilment of obligations which arise from membership of the Governing Body. More recently, Trinidad and Tobago was elected as a Titular Member of the Governing Body of the ILO for the triennium 2011-2014, and was subsequently re-elected for the triennium 2014-2017.
Trinidad and Tobago Benefits:
- It allows Trinidad and Tobago to contribute to shaping international labour policy and standards so that the lives of hard working employers and employees as well as workers around the world could be improved.
- It expands the knowledge base of the Ministry to enhance its contribution to national labour and development policy.
- It allows for the identification of challenges that developing countries face, especially small-island developing states like Trinidad and Tobago, and secure opportunities for support in areas such as labour migration, social dialogue, labour inspection and industrial relations.
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS UNIT
Level 6, Tower C
International Waterfront Centre
1A Wrightson Road,
PORT OF SPAIN