GIS - 23 August, 2013: A new Employment Promotion and Protection Division (EPPD) is operational since yesterday at the Employment Relations Tribunal (ERT). This division will deal will all cases of reduction of workforce, whether on a short term or permanently or the closing down of an enterprise, referred by the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment.
The official launching of the EPPD was held yesterday at Newton Tower, in Port Louis by the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Attorney General, Mr Satya Veyash Faugoo in the presence of the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Mr Shakeel Mohamed and the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Jangbahadoorsing Seetaram.
The setting up of this new division has been enunciated in the Employment Rights Act proclaimed in 2008. It will be presided by the President or the Vice-President of the ERT together with two members well versed in the field of employment and finance respectively.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, the Attorney General, Mr Satya Veyash Faugoo commended the task which is being undertaken at the ERT, which according to him, is a clear indication of the strong commitment of the Government to ensure that decent work prevails at the workplace in addition to protecting the rights of workers.
The Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Mr Shakeel Mohamed for his part, made an appeal to the employers to respect the terms and conditions of employment as defined under the two labour laws that is the Employment Rights Act and the Employment Relations Act.
The President of the ERT, Mr Rashid Hossen, called upon the lawyers to assist the ERT in meeting its deadlines. He added that the time limit for the Tribunal to give its verdict is only 30 days with an extra 30 days in exceptional cases to consider whether the employers’ decision is justified. According to him, this is itself a challenge for the ERT taking into account the Constitutional and other legal rights of disputants.
For the purposes of this new division, the law defines the word “employer” to be one of not less than 20 workers. The rationale behind the setting up of the EPPD at the ERT is to ensure that an independent, impartial body with the required expertise in employment relations matters is dealing with such important issues which may have a bearing on numerous workers.
The ERT has since 2012 implemented an e-tribunal electronic case management system through which the parties can exchange pleadings by e-mail. It can also post online its awards and statements of case and of defense or other documents presented before the Tribunal.
ERT has as main functions to settle industrial disputes in the civil service, the private sector and parastatal bodies and local government services in addition to hearing appeals related to decisions of the Conciliation and Mediation Commission. ERT also contributes to the promotion of harmonious industrial relations and is expected to enquire into the dispute and make an order/award/ruling within 90 days of the date of lodging.
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website:http://gis.gov.mu