Labour ministry recovers $13M for employees treated unfairly
– Non-compliant companies will be exposed- Minister Hamilton warns
The Ministry of Labour has, to date, recovered some $13 million owed to employees for 2022, in wages, annual leave, overtime and severance payments.
At present, the ministry has over 300 cases at the litigation stage, most of which stemmed from complaints made against private security companies.
Minister, Joseph Hamilton, M.P., told DPI that most of these companies refused to formally terminate their employees to avoid paying their remuneration as stipulated in Chapter 96:01 of the termination of employment and severance pay Act.
This action by the companies, Minister Hamilton noted, is not only a clear disregard for the country’s labour laws, but for the employees, as well.
The labour minister stated firmly that the ministry will not allow such acts to continue. “People will have to be paid their monies and sometimes, I intervene in these matters, and I say that you have two choices; either pay or I call the press conference to decide and that has worked so far,” he noted.
Since assuming office in August 2020, the government has taken several steps to ensure the rights of workers are protected. This includes sensitisation workshops with companies, where the country’s labour laws, in relation to workers’ rights and other aspects, were addressed.
The minister said the ministry will be taking a more aggressive approach towards non-compliant companies including public exposure of delinquent actions.
“As a forewarning, very shortly I will release a press release, based on information we have on companies that have outstanding monies for their workers and other companies. And I will list the name of the company, I will list the owners of the companies and directors and all of them who they owe and what they owe,” Minister Hamilton said.
In 2021, the ministry was able to recover $38.2 million, on behalf of workers, from employers, who breached the labour laws.