‘Union should have stopped sick-out’

According to attorney Lennox Marcelle, an expert on industrial relations and employment, “the Association has not done this yet and that’s the crux of the matter. The union continues to have liability. That’s my view.” Police officers began calling in sick last week and continued on Monday and Tuesday. There was reported to be normal attendance for the rest of last week. Police are among the public sector workers regarded as “essential services” and restricted from taking industrial action. Contravention of the law carries a fine of $1,000 and six months imprisonment if convicted while a trade union can be fined $20,000 and decertified. In an interview last Thursday, Marcelle, a former legal adviser for the Labour Ministry, said there is a misconception among trade union executives that they can “just say they don’t endorse” an action and this removed culpability. He said they had to go further than disassociating from the action.

“An association must manage its membership if they are involved in illegal industrial action, the association must come out and tell members that it is illegal and they must go back to work.” Marcelle said in the past injunctions have been taken out to halt doctors, teachers, TT Electricity Commission and Water and Sewerage Authority workers. He said workers must adhere to the laws established for the conduct of industrial relations because to do otherwise would add to the lawlessness in the country.

“If you have established laws for the conduct of a process and people don’t adhere and we take no action that is a serious issue–especially coming from the police.”


"‘Union should have stopped sick-out’"

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