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Natuc: Govt must review labour laws
The National Trade Union Centre (Natuc) wants the Government to urgently review the labour laws in the country to ensure that industrial peace is maintained. This was one of the requests that Natuc made to the Government last week in a document with details of recommendations for the annual national budget.
Natuc president Michael Annisette delivered the document to Finance Minister Larry Howai last week as part of the ongoing pre-budget consultations at the Ministry of Finance. Natuc stated in the document: “We note that there are many pieces of legislation that require urgent review to ensure that T&T has a modern functioning industrial relations framework, which is a key element of international competitiveness for all countries, especially developing countries like T&T.”
Natuc is the largest trade union body in the country which represents 150,000 workers and 300 bargaining units. According to the document, two aspects of labour legislation that requires “urgent attention” are updating the Workmen’s Compensation Act and a “comprehensive review” of the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) which governs the entire industrial relations system in the country.
Annisette also said the Government needs to be creative in the way it runs the economy and that it must create jobs as there could be continued social unrest if there is high unemployment on the East West Corridor. “The Port of Port-of-Spain is one of the major provider of jobs for people along the East West corridor and the Government must make sure that it is run properly,” he said.
“If this does not happen and people have no jobs then there will be unrest and other social ills.” Annisette also called on the Government and employers to work with unions as the tripartite system is important in having industrial peace. “Natuc is of the view that it is only when labour relations are harmonious and workers enjoy higher economic and social status will workers be motivated and equipped with the necessary conditions to learn and achieve development,” he said.
Natuc’s pre-budget document also notes that while T&T’s economy has not been impacted as badly as other countries, all the resources of the country must be used to develop the country. “In this environment, it is critical that all resources of the country are brought to bear in the country’s economic development,” Annisette said.
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