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  • Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, on Thursday (February 27), officially opened the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) Western Division office, which is housed at Blue Diamond Complex, Ironshore, Montego Bay, St. James.
  • The office will seek to protect the welfare of employers and employees in the parishes of St. James, Hanover, Trelawny and Westmoreland.
  • Speaking at the official opening ceremony, Mrs. Robinson described the establishment of the facility as “an important step in unlocking the door for justice in relation to labour disputes in western Jamaica”.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, on Thursday (February 27), officially opened the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) Western Division office, which is housed at Blue Diamond Complex, Ironshore, Montego Bay, St. James.

The office will seek to protect the welfare of employers and employees in the parishes of St. James, Hanover, Trelawny and Westmoreland.

Speaking at the official opening ceremony, Mrs. Robinson described the establishment of the facility as “an important step in unlocking the door for justice in relation to labour disputes in western Jamaica”.

She expressed confidence that the new office will improve the Tribunal’s capacity to respond to issues affecting workers and employers in a timely manner, while reducing the backlog of cases requiring arbitration.

“There was a 28 per cent reduction in the number of individual disputes reported to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in 2019. We must admit that there has been a backlog of cases. We have also recognised that the caseload coming to our labour office in western Jamaica accounts for approximately one-third of the overall caseload on the island. This has fueled the Ministry’s decision to establish the IDT West,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Robinson informed that the 90 per cent of cases that have been referred to the Labour and Social Security Ministry within the last two years were in relation to allegations of breach of due process in dismissal.

In that regard, the Minister urged employers to follow the regulations when seeking to carry out disciplinary actions against employees.

“The Tribunal has a duty to ensure that justice prevails for the worker and, equally, justice prevails for employers. It is, therefore, imperative that employers ensure that where workers are to be dismissed that grounds for dismissal are justifiable, and that the manner in which dismissals are carried out follows due process and the sums payable to workers are indeed correct,” she said.

Mrs. Robinson noted that the opening of the new office gives credence to the seriousness with which this Government views a stable industrial relations climate over the last four years.

For his part, President of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF), David Wan, said the new IDT western division will expedite the services of the tribunal.

“We commend the Ministry for this outstanding effort in establishing the IDT West. We think this is a welcome move by the Ministry. The IDT is supposed to be a dispute resolution mechanism and we firmly believe in brining disputes to a resolution quickly, and I believe that this office will facilitate that,” he said.

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