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NWU: INDEPENDENT BODY SHOULD APPOINT INDUSTRIAL COURT JUDGES

posted 24 Jan 2014, 05:20 by Gerry Kangalee

2014-01-24

 

INDEPENDENT BODY SHOULD APPOINT INDUSTRIAL COURT JUDGES

 


The National Workers Union (NWU) views with concern, but not surprise, the recent appointment of four new industrial court judges. Three of the four judges appointed have no known track record in industrial relations. 

This is worrying in that, in the repressive system of industrial relations that exists in T&T, the Industrial Court exercises great power and has the capacity to significantly shape the industrial relations scenario long into the future. 

As far as our knowledge extends, no consultation with the trade union movement took place before the appointment of this latest batch of judges. When industrial relations practitioners are overlooked for appointment to the Court, it opens the way for uninformed and distorted perspectives to shape labour jurisprudence to the obvious disadvantage of workers. 
 
The root cause of this situation is that the cabinet chooses the industrial court judges and therefore, the process is inextricably linked to partisan politics as in so many other facets of national life. Industrial court judges, as a consequence, do not have security of tenure and, like so many other contract “workers” in the public service, are at the mercy of the politicians. If Industrial court judges are to enjoy security of tenure their appointment should not be done by the cabinet, but should be done by an independent body. 
 
The terms and conditions of their employment should be embedded in legislation which, among other things, should speak to their salary, pension and other benefits. Once the present system of industrial relations exists the terms and conditions of industrial court judges should not be inferior to those enjoyed by judges of the Supreme Court. 
 
The National Workers Union (NWU) also finds it rather strange that no industrial court judge with a trade union background has ever been appointed to the Essential Services Division; yet two of the new judges who have no experience in industrial relations have been appointed to the Essential Services Division. 
 
This certainly raises questions as to whether appointments to that Division are tainted by political considerations.
 

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Gerry Kangalee (National Education and Research Officer – Cell: 785-7637)

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Gerry Kangalee,
24 Jan 2014, 05:20
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