- 05 December, 2016: The Police (Membership of Trade Union) Bill which gives right to any Police Officer to unionise was presented by the Prime Minister, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, on 29th November 2016 in the National Assembly and voted with amendments.
The Bill provides for members of the Police Force to be a member of a trade union or association of employees, having as object the control or influence of the pay, pensions, or conditions of service of Police Officers.
In his second reading, the Prime Minister recalled that the unionisation of the Police officers is indeed a great leap forward for this Government which he said is once again, living up to its promises as announced in the Government Programme 2015-2019, that Police would be allowed to syndicate.
Sir Anerood Jugnauth further expressed his conviction that the unionisation of the Police will play a pivotal co-ordination role in the promotion of constructive dialogue between Police Officers and Police management for the training and development of Police Officers and the general improvement of conditions of service within the Force.
He also dwelt on the importance of Police unions and the need for Police Officers to be unionised which he said are now an increasingly prominent feature of the modern police organisation. He therefore appealed to the Police Officers to use the tool put at their disposal in a responsible manner to build a new image for the Police Force.
According to him, Police unions are accepted in most western democratic countries and, in most cases, have as major objective the promotion of welfare of the officers, the enhancement of their working conditions and environment as well as improvement in their professional efficiency.
The Prime Minister also emphasised that through the Bill, the Government wants to ensure that the Police Force is provided with the necessary tools and facilities, and above all, a conducive working environment where all Police Officers can perform their duties with diligence and serenity.
The Police (Membership of Trade Union) Bill was voted on 29 November 2016 with several major amendments brought to both the Employment Relations Act and the Police Act.
Among the main amendments:
Employment Relations Act
· Amendment to the Act to include the Police Force along with a new subsection to provide that a trade union of Police Officers shall not amalgamate with another trade union, except with another trade union of Police Officers;
· two new subsections are being included to provide that a trade union of Police Officers shall not join with any other trade union to form a federation, except with another trade union of Police Officers; and a federation of Police shall not join any other federation to form a confederation, except with another federation of Police Officers which will consist of two or more trade unions; and
· the Act relating to the right to strike is being amended so that no member of the Mauritius Police shall have the right to strike under any circumstance.
The Police Act
· the Act which prohibits Police Officers to be members of a union and which also provides for the establishment of a Police Federation is being repealed; and
· section 25(3)(g) which includes the ‘Police Federation’ as being one of the areas, amongst others, where the Commissioner of Police may make regulations is being repealed.
It will be recalled that regarding the Police Force, regulations were made before under the Police Act since 1974 for the setting up of a Police Federation as a platform through which Police Officers could express their views on matters pertaining to their welfare and efficiency. The Police Federation Regulations 1974 were replaced in 2004 by new Regulations in order to broaden the scope of the Police Federation. The aim was to create a congenial forum where Police Officers could meet and discuss issues relevant to their welfare and working conditions and at the same time giving Officers of lower ranks the opportunity to apprise the top management of problems that they are facing at their workplace.
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