Revision of Labour Code

The Employment Act and the Labour Relations Act are the two pieces of legislation that will make up the country’s revised Labour Code.

The action, which started in September of 2014, has received financial and technical support from the government of Canada to get the process going.

Ministry of Labour officials including Labour Commissioner Griffith at the Press Conference

Ministry of Labour officials including Labour Commissioner Griffith at the Press Conference

Speaking to members of the media at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing, officials from the Ministry of Labour said the consultant, which was supplied by Canada, recently submitted his last report.

According to Labour Commissioner Cyrus Griffith, the revision being done is geared at strengthening the Ministry of Labour with the ability to enforce the Labour Code.

He gave an insight into what could be found in the Labour Code, once it is completed.

Griffith said it should create a more stable industrial relation environment, prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace, and offer greater protection in the work place for people with disabilities.

In addition, he said the code would seek to clarify the hours of work, employee behaviour, what causes issues in the workplace, and vacation among other things.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Sally-Ann Baghwan-Logie who also addressed the media pointed out that the code would provide a protocol to cover a safe and healthy workplace for all employees.

“What will be inserted in our Labour Code is a safe and healthy work place free of sexual harassment and this is for both male and female”, she said.

“What we want is an environment where workers can perform and work in an environment, free of all harassment, including sexual harassment and we have also inserted the removal of discrimination including HIV/AIDS as the Ministry of Labour has a workplace policy on HIV/AIDS,” she added.

Labour Commissioner Griffith said all these provisions are included in the draft bill, which is now before the Labour Advisory Board, which has to sign off on the revised document.

However, he said the Ministry of Labour has not been successful in obtaining a meeting with the Labour Advisory Board to determine the way forward as they have indicated that they are not ready.

“In regards to meetings with the Labour Advisory Board, the parties – employers, Trade Unions – they have asked for more time to study the document”, he said.

He spoke of the TUC indicating it was not ready to proceed and requested an additional six weeks to have further dialogue on the two documents.

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