Cases haemorrhaging in Industrial Court
Monday, September 2 2013
THE EDITOR: The operations of the Trinidad and Tobago Industrial Court need to be addressed urgently as there is a haemorrhaging of cases before the court.
The present lethargic operation of the court is exemplified by the backlog of cases that have either not been called or are awaiting a decision.
In addition, there are numerous applications to the court for hearing dates that are unlikely to be available until the year 2014 or beyond.
The court as it is presently structured is totally inefficient and adds to the frustrations of workers who have sought redress through the court against unscrupulous employers.
It should be noted, that the court presently takes three to five years to provide judgment on cases.
Many workers have become frustrated by the length of the deliberations and the inability of the court to bring timely closure to their cases.
Consequently, employers and their industrial advisers have taken the position that out-of-court settlements would not be pursued through mediation at the Ministry of Labour.
Instead, matters are forced to go directly to the court where it takes an inordinately long time to receive a hearing date and by extension due process.
The employers expect, based on present practices in the court, that the case and following judgment will take inordinately long. Therefore, it is the employer’s expectation that the worker would become frustrated and discontinue the action or in some cases die.
The Industrial Court in its present incantation fails to provide the worker with the assurance that justice can be done or even appear to be done.
While the employer continues to conduct business as usual; the aggrieved past employee is forced to search for employment while they await a court date way into the future.
Alban C Scott