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IC president: Business, labour must work together

Published: 
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Industrial Court President Deborah Thomas-Felix is appealing for trade union and business leaders to work together to find solutions to current economic problems plaguing T&T.

Thomas-Felix made the call in her annual address at the opening of the 2017/2018 Law Term at the court’s headquarters in Port-of-Spain yesterday morning.

Stating that fostering a meaningful relationship was one of the factors which could stimulate sustained growth in the economy, Thomas-Felix suggested that they put their distrust and differences aside.

“Although at times the relationship between the unions and business may appear to be acrimonious, let us not forget that unions and business have a common purpose, and that purpose is for the business to be successful and profitable so that business owners can make profit and employees can earn wages and have job security,” she said.

She also advised businesses to implement systems which provided for consultation with their employees over work-related issues.

“This is the time to foster more symbiotic labour relationships; the time to encourage discussion on issues at the workplace and it is also the time to adopt a less adversarial approach and foster a more collaborative approach toward problem-solving in the workplace,” Thomas-Felix said.

Thomas-Felix also praised the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) for its decision to return to the National Tripartite Advisory Council after a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, last week.

“There is an urgent need for all stakeholders to commit to tripartism where parties-Labour, Business and Government- can engage in genuine, meaningful discussions with a view to arriving at policy prescriptions and solutions that will assist our country in realizing sustainable growth and greater resilience,” she said.

Thomas-Felix spent a considerable portion of her speech dealing with the impact of economic inequality on crime in T&T.

While she admitted that poverty was not the main reason for crime, she stated that the two issues were inextricably linked.

“From an industrial relations perspective, crime has a crippling effect on business and economic development, and there is a need for us as a people, as a nation, to collectively and urgently address the root causes of this crisis and devise mechanisms to protect business owners and workers from these growing incidences of crime,” she said.