T&T unemployment system needs overhaul -Labour Minister

(Trinidad Express) The 5.1 per cent unemployment rate in the country does not represent the reality of the situation, says Labour Minister Errol Mc Leod.

He was responding to questions at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair on Thursday.

He said the system by which the unemployment rate was determined needed to be overhauled.

“I think it is safe to say that the system that is now employed…doesn’t really represent the truth of the situation. That needs to be overhauled, there are many people who have become disgusted, they have become fed-up and they stop looking for work. They are not considered in the number but they are unemployed and they have to eat,” said Mc Leod.

Economists like Indera Sagewan-Alli continue to dispute the jobless figure in the country, suggesting that temporary work programmes distorted the true unemployment rate in the country.

Mc Leod also announced that Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has been mandated by Cabinet to draft legislation for improved compensation for employees who are injured on the job.

An international labour expert was hired to conduct consultations with various stakeholders and a draft policy was produced, he said.

Cabinet approved that the draft policy be sent to the Attorney General to establish new legislation to govern employment injury benefits to employees.

Mc Leod noted that in November 1960 the Workmen’s Compensation Act was enacted and this Act was reviewed as part of the labour legislation reform project.

He said while this legislation brought “reasonable” benefits to employees, economic changes over time had devalued the impact and relevance of the existing Act.

Mc Leod said the new draft policy proposes:

• The new legal framework for employee injury benefit ought to provide employment injury benefits to all people in an employment relationship with an employer and all people in a state of dependency of a deceased employee.

• Cash benefits and medical benefits are to be improved and new legislation should provide for periodic review of cash benefits to take into account cost of living increases —Such benefits be in harmony with the benefits from employers’ insurance payable under the National Insurance Act.

• The Industrial Court established by virtue of the Industrial Relations Act Chapter 88:01 be answered to adjudicate any claims arising thereunder the period within which an action for employment injury benefits can be initiated being extended from one year to four years from the date of the accident

• The list of occupational diseases for which employment injury benefits can be claimed be extended in alignment with those prescribed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Speaking about the industrial relations climate in 2012, Mc Leod said it was challenging but productive.

At the end of 2012, some 45 wage and salary negotiations were completed, he said.

During the period 2010 to December 31, 2012 there were 132 collective agreements settled mainly through the bilateral process.

Mc Leod said there were “some noises” but that was from the minority of cases.

He expressed confidence that there will be a peaceful industrial relations climate this year.

With her 14-month daughter Kaylee seated on her lap, Giselle Glaude shares a light moment with her attorney, Jason Nathu, at the Equal Opportunity Tribunal building before judgment was delivered in her favour yesterday.

T&T Muslim woman wins discrimination case over hijab

(Trinidad Guardian) A Muslim woman yesterday won a landmark judgment against a security firm for discrimination on the basis of her religious beliefs.

default placeholder

Venezuela gov’t aims to sink Maduro recall, opposition protests

CARACAS, (Reuters) – Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government sought yesterday to scupper a push by the opposition to oust him this year via a referendum, while his opponents called for protests to demand the vote.

default placeholder

No amnesty for war rapists: Colombia peace talks turn to women’s rights

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Colombia’s government and FARC rebels have pledged to improve access to land for women and ensure perpetrators of sexual violence, including rape, will not be eligible for amnesty as part of ongoing peace talks to end five decades of civil war.

default placeholder

Colombia declares end to Zika epidemic inside country

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombian health officials declared yesterday that the worst of a Zika outbreak in the Andean nation had passed just 10 months after its arrival, raising questions about how the virus is affecting parts of Latin America differently.

Damage to the MV Xin Fei Zhou

Ship hits wall of Panama Canal, renews design concerns

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A Chinese container ship hit a wall of the new lane of the Panama Canal, a Canal Authority official and a local ship agent said yesterday, the third such incident since the expanded waterway opened one month ago amid design concerns.

default placeholder

Little enforcement of Jamaica Tobacco Control Act douses its relevance

(Jamaica Observer) It has existed on Jamaican law books for three years now, but the one-time much heralded Public Health Tobacco Control Regulations Act 2013, seems to have virtually gone up in smoke.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: