Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Sunday | February 1, 2009
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Non-unionised workers to plead cases at IDT
SECURITY GUARDS and other categories of workers, who have been fighting for the right to union representation, could soon get the chance to argue their case before the Industrial Dispute Tribunal (IDT).

Labour Minister Pearnel Charles announced yesterday that drafting instructions had been given for legislation to be created to allow workers this privilege.

"There are workers who the IDT will only listen to when they are represented by a union ... this year, that piece of legislation will come," Charles said at the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions congress held at the Jamaica Conference Centre yesterday.

The labour minister said that the legislation would allow non-unionised workers to take their cases to the Ministry of Labour, who would hear them and if necessary refer them to the IDT for a ruling.

"The IDT belongs to all of you. The legislation is now being drafted. Individual workers will be able to get their right and the minister decides what goes to the IDT," Charles said.

Right to strike

Meanwhile, Dwight Nelson, minister without portfolio in the ministry of Finance and the Public Service, has urged his colleague, minister Charles, to take legis-lation to parliament aimed at giving workers the right to strike.

"He knows that I am opposed to that," Charles replied.

The labour minister said employment is a contract between worker and employer and striking should not be the way in which the dispute is resolved.

"I want to move the country to a position where the contract of employment between workers and management sticks," Charles said.

He added: "I don't want a situation where a man has to strike for his rights. I don't consider that any right. If you break the contract you have a right to withdraw from that table."


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