Attorney Calls for Changes to the Labour Code

An Attorney at Law is calling for the Labour Code to be amended to give persons the right to apply directly to the Labour Tribunal.

Mr. Jean Kelsick made the call during a speech to the Montserrat Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently.

He points out that Section 22 of the Labour Code governs the process by which a dispute between an employer and employee is referred to the Labour Tribunal.

He contends however, that the Labour Department and the Tribunal have interpreted this provision to mean that an employee or employer cannot refer a dispute directly to the Tribunal but must instead ask the Labour Department to do so on their behalf.

Mr. Kelsick considers this interpretation to be plainly wrong, in conflict with other provisions of the Code and contrary to the principle of access to justice. 

He says the Code needs to be amended to make it clear that individual employers and employees have a right to apply directly to the Tribunal so that they are not subject to the vagaries of the Labour Department. 

Meantime, Mr. Kelsick has called on the Labour Department to be completely fair, balanced and objective.

He says too often employers complain that the Labour Department lacks these qualities and perceives its role as one of protecting the rights of employees only.

According to the veteran attorney employers are sometimes discouraged by the Labour Department from obtaining independent legal advice and pressured into doing things and making payments to employees that are not required by the Code.

Mr. Kelsick posits that, in some instances employers are being encouraged by the Labour Department to give up their legal rights.