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The importance of social dialogue

Kevin Grant is the general secretary of the Bermuda Public Services Union

The International Labour Organisation defines social dialogue as “all types of negotiation, consultation or exchange of information between or among representatives of governments, employers and workers on issues of common interest relating to economic and social policy”.

Social dialogue promotes democratic involvement and buy-in of stakeholders. It is a collaborative process that can bring resolution to critical economic and social issues while fostering good governance, transparency and strong industrial relations.

One of the most important aspects of social dialogue is that it provides constructive processes that maximise the impact of crisis responses. This can be regularly done through collective bargaining and joint consultative committee meetings, which can contribute to successful policy and decision-making. Social dialogue also establishes a strong foundation for building the commitment of government, the private sector, unions and social partners to the joint action needed to overcome a crisis and collaborate for a sustainable recovery.

Unions have a responsibility to our members and the wider community to engage in inclusive mechanisms that encourage collaboration and strengthen the capacities and processes for effective social dialogue. Recent headlines in the media indicate that the Government intends to bring forward a number of initiatives. Unemployment insurance, a livable wage, health insurance reform, immigration reform, climate change and the ongoing pandemic are all issues that must be considered via social dialogue. It is imperative that all stakeholders are engaged in meaningful and open dialogue to discuss these initiatives, as they will have a significant impact on our members and the wider community.

There is pride in the phrase “Bermuda is another world”; however, we must acknowledge that we are part of a global society. The Covid-19 pandemic has surely awakened us to this fact. Social dialogue is vital as we continue to navigate these precarious times. Forums such as the Labour Advisory Committee, various government boards, town hall meetings and, more importantly, collective bargaining provide the opportunity for frank and open dialogue that must encourage a human-centred approach.

Noting that the theme of the government’s recent Throne Speech was “Social Renewal and Economic Recovery”, the Bermuda Public Services Union believes that this should be the impetus that puts social dialogue at the epicentre of how we collaboratively plan for the future of Bermuda.

Kevin Grant is the general secretary of the Bermuda Public Services Union

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Published November 17, 2021 at 8:08 am (Updated November 17, 2021 at 8:08 am)

The importance of social dialogue

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