by Linda Straker
- Proposal before Cabinet to reorganise Ministry of Labour
- Covid-19 provided some unique challenges because of various impacts on workers
Labour Minister Peter David has disclosed that as part of a strategy that will see the Ministry of Labour responding to the new workplace challenges more effectively, a proposal is currently before the Cabinet that will lead to the reorganising of that ministry.
“To confront the new and constantly evolving world of labour relations, a new initiative is now before the Cabinet aimed at reorganising the Ministry to make it better able to play its role and more effectively carry out its functions,” Minister David spoke before the limited number of workers present at the National Stadium for the 2021 May Day celebrations, which was viewed by thousands of workers via social media platforms. “We will, in the future, be meeting with the various stakeholders to discuss these proposals,” David said. “This is a dramatic evolving world situation, particularly with the uncertainty of what exactly a post-pandemic world would look like and its impact on work and the nature of work. However, the many challenges alongside the aspiring advances, must not be a threat to the labour movement but a unique opportunity.”
Reviewing the year 2020, David said that Covid-19 provided some unique challenges for the Labour Ministry because of the various impacts on workers. “In the Covid-19 pandemic period, the Ministry of Labour has been stretched to its limit handling scores of employment disputes having to do with termination compensation,” said David. “Lockdown and annual vacation leave; shortening of the workweek and rotation of workers; the collapse of many small businesses and their inability to pay termination allowance and the issues involving Government and Public Service Unions,” he outlined.
Nonetheless, for the period under review, 130 grievances were reported to the Ministry and of that number, 96 were settled. There were 40 workplace inspections carried out during the period of lockdown and to workplaces where the virus had infected workers.