Labour Minister Stephenson King says the current COVID-19 crisis calls for a certain measure of understanding, cooperation and compromise by all.
“It is with this in mind, that throughout our discussions with Employer organisations, Worker Organisations and our valued workforce; we have consistently encouraged consultation between the parties – “CONSULT, CONSULT, CONSULT,” King declared.
The former Prime Minister spoke during an address to the nation this week.
“The onslaught of COVID–19 and the impact on work is new to all of us,” he observed.
” It is an occurrence for which there is no specific provision in our Labour laws, and this is why we have adopted a tripartite approach of consultation with all stakeholders to clarify positions, encourage dialogue, and where there’s need for clarity, guidance is sought from the Attorney General’s Chambers,” the Minister explained.
He said this is necessary to ensure the effective application of the existing legislation, and where necessary to draft appropriate amendments and/or regulations that are likely to bring clarity, purpose and relevance, applicable to this novel pandemic period and to give space and time for recovery.
He urged patience whilst the Department does its best to respond in a timely manner under the current circumstances.
However the Labour Minister made it clear that there is no change to date in the applicable law – the Labour Code, No. 37 of 2006.
“In view of the fact that the laws of Saint Lucia have NOT changed, I wish to state that it is NOT the role or jurisdiction of the Labour Commissioner to sanction rotation, reduced hours, work-from-home conditions, salary cuts and other adjustments to workers’ contractual terms,” he stated.
” This continues to be a function of negotiation and dialogue between employers and workers or their representatives,” the Minister explained.
“Again, recognizing the unique situation in which Covid-19 places us, we advise that Employers, Employees and Employee representatives consult, dialogue; and where agreement is reached, all agreed specifics should be reduced to writing for the protection of all parties.”