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‘Imperative that Labour Dept & Private Sector forge closer partnership’- C. Michael Thomas

- Labour Department renamed to capsule all facets of its operations
The Labour Department has officially been renamed The Department of Labour and Workforce Development. Photo: VINO
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) has said much emphasis is now being placed on workforce development. Photo: VINO
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) has said much emphasis is now being placed on workforce development. Photo: VINO
Managing Director of Clarence Thomas Limited (CTL), Mr C. Michael Thomas believes it is imperative that the Labour Department and Workforce Development and the private sector forge a closer partnership. Photo: VINO
Managing Director of Clarence Thomas Limited (CTL), Mr C. Michael Thomas believes it is imperative that the Labour Department and Workforce Development and the private sector forge a closer partnership. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- It is no longer the Labour Department but rather The Department of Labour and Workforce Development, a name change made official today July 5, 2019 amidst calls for private sector training, improved employer and employee etiquette and constitutional reform.

A special ceremony was held earlier today at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park in Road Town, Tortola, to mark the official renaming and saw the department on Tortola being closed for half of the day while the Virgin Gorda office is closed all day.

Speaking at the ceremony were Acting Premier and Minister for Transportation, works and Utilities, Honourable Kye M. Rymer (R5), Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) and Managing Director of Clarence Thomas Limited (CTL) Mr C. Michael Thomas, among others.

Help educate private sector employees about labour code

It was Mr Thomas, while called upon to give brief remarks on how CTL has benefited from the Department who challenged it. "I also take this opportunity to encourage the newly renamed Labour Department and Workforce Development to initiate educational sessions and training seminars for the private sector, to re-educate employers about the labour code."

According to Mr Thomas, there are many grey areas in the code, which can be better explained in detail to allow the business community to forge a better relationship with the department and the employees of the businesses.

He noted that since the hurricanes of 2017, the rebuilding and recovery process has forced a change in the VI’s workforce. "Many businesses have also changed the manner in which hiring is done and so these educational sessions are badly needed."

This prompted another proposal by Mr Thomas, "I also propose that the Labour Code 2010 be revisited to establish a protocol to be followed by employers and employees regarding their rights and responsibilities during natural disasters and in the unfortunate circumstance that there is a complete long term business closure."

"As we move forward towards the modernisation, development and management of the human resources' needs of the private sector, I believe that it is imperative that the Labour Department and Workforce Development and the private sector forge a closer partnership."

‘Many things ailing in the workforce’- Hon Wheatley

According to Honourable Wheatley, he has taken up a department that has a lot of work to do to improve its efficiency and image. "In my position, I get a lot of horror stories from the workforce and we are going to work diligently to address the many things ailing in the workforce."

He further added, "I have to urge the employees... when you go to a job your responsibility is to be productive. There is reputation at stake and the employer has to create a safe working environment.”

Noting that the Labour Department may mean different things to different people, the subject Minister noted, "For some it is health and safety, for others it is labour relations, for more it is work permit processing. Yet, I note for most it denotes workforce development."

This he said fuelled the name change, noting that much emphasis is now being placed on workforce development.

He added, "The name change is set up with the hope of changing the lens through which the department is viewed as well as changing the mind-set of Virgin islanders, especially our youths."

2 Responses to “‘Imperative that Labour Dept & Private Sector forge closer partnership’- C. Michael Thomas”

  • Hmmm (05/07/2019, 19:27) Like (21) Dislike (1) Reply
    Labour needs a new focus. A better direction. Stop been pro business and start to create balance and fairness...
  • asking for a friend (06/07/2019, 09:54) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    When he going get rid of Rymer?


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