Categorized | National News

Governor General Signs National Tripartite Council Bill

A move towards enhancing labour relations in the country came to fruition with the signing of the National Tripartite Council Bill 2014 into law by Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling.

Dame Marguerite signed the much-anticipated piece of legislation during a courtesy call at Government House by delegates of the 9th International Labour Organization Meeting of the Caribbean Ministers of Labour on Tuesday, March 3.

The National Tripartite Council Bill, passed in Parliament this year, calls for the establishment of a council comprising the government, employers and workers.

The government is expecting a recommendation for a new minimum wage to be introduced, according to Minister of Labour Shane Gibson.

He confirmed that the members of the National Tripartite Council have been named and will be submitting recommendations on labour matters going forward.

Mr. Gibson said he urged members of the council to submit those recommendations as soon as possible in order for him to make formal presentation to Cabinet for a final decision to be made on what that minimum wage should be. The minimum wage is presently $150 a week.

The council is made up of two representatives from the National Congress of Trade Unions and one from the Trade Union Congress, three representatives from the Employer’s Confederation in the Chamber of Commerce and three representatives from the government.

The functions and powers of the council are to practice and promote tripartism in The Bahamas through cooperation, consultation, negotiation and compromise of the social partners in order to create and shape social and economic policies and programmes.

The council would also advise the government on the formulation of national policies and strategies on all aspects of labour, productivity, quality and competition, review and advise the government on ILO matters and conference agendas and examine and re-examine at appropriate intervals ILO Conventions and Recommendations that have not been ratified or implemented and recommend appropriate measures for the promotion of their ratification and implementation.

Other functions of the council would be to advise the government on labour and industrial matters, promote training and education of all social partners, foster harmonious working relations and build trust among social partners, review legislation and make recommendations for amendment or codification of the same, create and promulgate a national development strategy on labour and industrial relations, amongst other things.

The council is to be funded from sums as may be voted for the purposes of the council by Parliament. And, all employers’ organizations, workers’ organizations and the government in its capacity as a social partner, shall contribute, as the council may determine, to any additional funding required by the council.

Furthermore, the council executive is the governing body and shall perform the functions and exercise the powers of the council. The council may employ the necessary personnel to carry out its functions and operations.

The minister shall communicate to the council the policy of the government on issues and matters concerning labour and industrial relations.

In addition, the council executive shall meet monthly and the chairman as deemed necessary may call any additional meetings.

Officers of the council executive shall be eligible for re-election for a further non-consecutive term of three years; the chairman shall be eligible to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms of three years. The council shall pay a council executive member a stipend per annum as determined by the council.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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