Where we stand‎ > ‎News & Comment‎ > ‎


posted 31 Jul 2013, 12:40 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 1 Aug 2013, 18:42 ]
The Industrial Relations Advisory Committee (IRAC) recently submitted its report to the Minister of Labour. This website publishes a copy of the Final Draft of the IRAC report.

IRAC was appointed under Section 80 of the Industrial Relations Act, Chapter 88:01 and took effect from 16th February, 2012.

According to Section 80, of the Industrial Relations Act (IRA): “80. (1) There is hereby established an Industrial Relations Advisory Committee (herein referred to as “ the Advisory Committee”) for the purpose of advising the Minister on any matter relating to industrial relations on which the Minister requests advice and for the purpose of performing the duties referred to in section 81.”

Section 81 states: “It shall be the duty of the Advisory Committee to keep this Act under review with a view to ensuring its development and reform, including in particular the modification of any of the provisions thereof and the elimination of anomalies, and for that purpose to prepare and submit to the Minister, from time to time specific proposals for changes therein.”

Appointments were made to this Committee in 1972, 1977 and 1980. But for the past thirty three years the committee lay dormant.

Members of the Committee appointed in accordance with the IRA are: Lennox Marcelle, Attorney at Law, Chairman; Orville Carrington, Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association; Vincent Cabrera, Banking, Insurance and General Workers’ Union; Keston Nancoo, Employers’ Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago [ECA]; Jonathan Walker, Representative Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce; Hazel Elcock-Ifill, Ministry of Labour; Ms. Hyacinth Guy, Acting General Manager PowerGen; Chrisendath Mahabir, Retired Public Officer; Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, University of the West Indies; Dr. Roosevelt Williams, Association of Caribbean Tertiary Tutors; Maukesh Basdeo, University of the West Indies.

The Committee’s scope of work involved:
Review of the entire Industrial Relations System in Trinidad and Tobago, in order to make recommendations for amendments

Review of the Industrial Relations Act, Chapter 88:01 and related legislation

Review of the organizational structure of the Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago

Consideration of criteria for the appointment and removal of Judges of the Industrial Court

Review of the existing methods and procedures adopted in the resolution of trade disputes;

Review of the provisions relating to the Registration Recognition and Certification Board
Review of the Office of Economic and Industrial Research;
Review of other employment law as submitted by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development;

Research issues impacting industrial relations and labour law globally and more specifically the CARICOM States.

The work of the IRAC is of particular importance to trade unionists. Over the years many proposals have been put forward to amend the labour laws and to reshape the industrial relations institutions, but, the situation today remains, fundamentally as it was laid down forty one years ago, when the PNM government enacted the IRA during a state of emergency, with some trade union leaders held in detention.

The latest proposals to reform the industrial relations system are contained in the Workers’ Agenda which was developed in 2010.
The Final Draft of the IRAC report was submitted to Minister Errol McLeod, who piloted the adoption of the Workers’ Agenda at an all-union Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) held on 18th April 2010. Who says History does not have a sense of irony?