Industrial Relations Court to be established

– Labour laws for amendment

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The government is embarking on establishing an Industrial Relations Court or Industrial Relations Tribunal to improve Labour–Management Relations.

This was revealed by Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott during the 2019 budget debates in the National Assembly. The Minister told the National Assembly that the Ministry of Social Protection has already engaged the major stakeholders who comprise the National Tripartite Committee which is currently examining a proposed bill which should bring into existence either a court or a tribunal.

Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection Keith Scott

“The object of this would be to enhance labour management relations and ultimately the quality of life of all workers, who should be able to experience decent working conditions,” Minister Scott said.

He noted that the mandate of the ministry is about fairness, justice and equity, but these values cannot be fully manifested with the current laws. In this regard, his department has embarked on the update and amendment of certain key labour-related legislation to coordinate these with enlightened thinking and practices.

These laws include the Labour Act, Leave with Pay Act, Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act (TESPA), Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, Co-operative Societies Act, Friendly Societies Act, and The School Thrift Chapter 36:04. Minister Scott said the Labour Act, Chapter 98:01 is the most important piece of legislation which was first enacted in 1942.

“For example, the need for an employer to produce the requisite employment records at the ministry to facilitate a reasonable resolution of differences between himself and an aggrieved worker or ex-worker is not provided for on a compulsory basis, thereby making a thorough and complete investigation protracted and sometimes almost impossible.”

The amended Labour Act will provide for the compulsory submission of the necessary records to aid in the resolution of complaints about the benefits of the ordinary worker and towards the promotion of human development.

The need for amending labour laws within the general scheme is imperative at this time as Guyana expects an inflow of foreign business due in large measure to the emerging oil sector.

Ranetta La Fleur

Image: Keno George


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