Employment Tribunal not ready

There is still no clear timetable set out for when the Employment Rights Tribunal will deal with the case of retrenched National Conservation Commission workers.

General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union Sir Roy Trotman made the revelation this evening, following a meeting with some of the displaced workers at the Union’s headquarters.

Sir Roy, who is still recovering from recent spinal surgery, told reporters there were some ‘teething’ problems that had to be work out before the body can properly get down to addressing any specific concerns.

“The Tribunal has a problem to find procedures, processes, its own internal working mechanisms and I am aware that the tribunal has been looking to London, England.  It has gone as far as Canada, Australia, wherever there are other systems where there are similar tribunals.

“They have gone to look for working approaches and that means that they are still looking because they haven’t set down those so far as I know.

“If they start they their meetings and some of those problems are not clearly worked out with the workers and the workers’ representative, this may cause workers to lose a just case that is brought before the tribunal,” Sir Roy said.

Stating, however, that there was a deep commitment to meet and have the NCC matter resolved, the union boss noted that correspondence had been exchanged between the Tribunal and the BWU within the last week which looked at what procedures would be employed in the hearings of the Tribunal.

“. . . it is at this point that we in the BWU have in fact written to the [Tribunal] to express our interest in making sure that [they are] able to meet speedily to deal with the [NCC issue] and indeed with other concerns we have.

“ . . . but at the same time that the work of the Tribunal is so critical to the wellbeing of workers and the workers’ interest that we need to make it absolutely clear to everybody that we are following a process which is clear, which is unequivocal and which can in fact be met without our having to get QCs or very senior and experienced attorneys every time to deal with these issues.

“So, we have said to the Tribunal that we want to have our attorney speak [on] our behalf, and Mr [Edmund] King QC, he has given dates, he is ready to have those discussions because, once the tribunal start hearings, it cannot jump around from one approach to a second, to a third and the Trade Union movement has to be satisfied that the approach being used is one that brings justice and does so in a straight forward manner,” Sir Roy noted.

He suggested that because of the seeming lack of preparedness on the part of the Tribunal, the workers had been putting forward suggestions, namely returning to the table to see what could be worked out, adding that his Union was not “unwilling” to explore such a prospect.

“ . . . but it had to be clearly recognised that the matter is legally before the Tribunal . . . [It] has been anxious to start working and I think that they said to us that they are ready, but let us tell you what we propose to do. They’ve said so,” Sir Roy said.


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