Employers of enterprises of any size and sector are at the helm of strategies that improve living standards through employment creation. Employers’ organizations provide the requisite services that improve and guide the successful performance of individual enterprises while helping to shape an overall operating environment conducive to enterprises for their competitiveness and sustainability. Employers’ organizations unify the voice of the business community they represent to contribute the employers’ perspective to economic and social development objectives, a critical component on national and regional agendas. It is therefore essential that employers have strong, independent and representative organizations. National employers’ organizations aim to effectively meet the demands of their member enterprises and to actively participate as major partners in the social dialogue process together with government and worker representatives. Key areas in which employers’ organizations of the Caribbean are actively involved are:
- contributing to updating of labour legislation and policies in line with international labour standards,
- delivering training in modern techniques in industrial relations and human resources management,
- providing advisory services in occupational safety and health; gender equality; corporate social responsibility; HIV/AIDS; skills for employability; productivity improvement; small enterprise development.
To help meet these aims, the ILO’s Bureau for Employers’ Activities provides technical support through programmes and advisory services to national employers’ organizations to:
- increase their effectiveness of their management structures and practices,
- strengthen their services to respond to the needs of existing and potential members,
- enhance their capacity to analyze the business environment and influence policy development at the national, regional and international levels
Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC)
ILO Office also collaborates with the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC), the recognized regional body for national employers’ organizations that is comprised of 16 national employers’ organizations spanning the CARICOM Member States as well as from the British and French overseas territories of the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Academy of the Management of Employers Organizations (CAMEO)
Bridges of cooperation to support Caribbean employers’ organizations have been built, and crossed, thanks to the collaboration amongst employers’ specialists and the support of various offices and institutions. With its launch in June 2007, the Caribbean Academy of the Management of Employers Organizations (CAMEO) became the first ILO English-language programme tailored, with the support of business institutions of higher learning, for executives of employers’ organizations in the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean. CAMEO is the result of the collaborative effort between the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean, the ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities in Geneva, the ILO International Training Centre in Turin, the Mona School of Business of the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica and more recently, the Cave Hill School of Business of the University of the West Indies, Bridgetown, Barbados.
The five-day programme encompasses modern-day topics geared at successfully managing an employers’ organization, and aimed to enhance the operations of national employers’ organizations for improved service, relevance and sustainability, taking into account the present socio-economic environment.
As a result of their participation, national employers’ organizations have been creatively applying the wealth of ideas and suggestions extracted from the CAMEO programmes for improving the capacities of their respective organizations. The information obtained from the programme has resulted in a better understanding of the larger picture of issues to be addressed and the corresponding larger role and responsibilities of employers’ organizations for which they must maintain their preparedness to serve and to sustain. Moreover, there has been greater collaboration and networking amongst other national private sector groups and from employers’ organizations around the Caribbean region to share information on issues, practices, and mentoring.
Since the launch of the first Caribbean Academy for the Management of Employers’ Organization (CAMEO I) in 2007 and the hosting of CAMEO II in 2009, a network for the exchange of information and experiences amongst Caribbean employers’ organizations and other private sector groupings has been created, resulting in greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing on issues, practices, and mentoring. Preparations are currently underway for the next CAMEO (CAMEO III). The interest for and excellent evaluation of the CAMEO Programmes conducted thus far is helping to institutionalize a Programme, conducted on a bi-annual basis, that Caribbean employers and their organizations can claim for their very own.