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Numerous disputes to Labour Department since COVID-19

There has been an increase in the number of complaints reported to the Department of Labour & Workforce Development since the advent of COVID-19 in the British Virgin Islands.

Labour Commissioner Janice Rymer gave that indication during a live public broadcast with senior members of the Ministry of Labour & Immigration Sunday night, September 13.

“We’re dealing with numerous disputes that have been lodged since the hurricanes, actually. [But] we’ve had a number of disputes that have come in and even more so now during COVID-19,” Rymer said.

The Labour Commissioner said the department’s Labour Relations Unit — more commonly known as the Disputes Unit — is addressing the disputes remotely.

She said the are handled via telephone and Zoom calls as a COVID-19 safety precaution. She did not detail the nature of these disputes.

Arbitration Tribunal relaunched after years of poor performance

News of these increased labour-related disputes come as the department relaunched its Labour Arbitration Tribunal.

“It’s not been the best for the last couple of years but we hope to see a great improvement going forward,” Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley said while describing the Tribunal as “an integral part” of the department.

The establishment of an Arbitration Tribunal is a requirement under Section 29 of the territory’s 2010 Labour Code.

Its responsibility under the legislation is “to settle any dispute or complaint transmitted to it by the minister”.

The law says: “The Tribunal shall comprise a chairperson and two other members. The Chairperson shall be an attorney-at-law of at least 10 years’ standing and shall be appointed by the minister in consultation with Cabinet for a period of two years”.

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7 Comments

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  1. Hmm says:

    I had one since 2009 and nothing came out of it. I am still to receive money owing to me from the employers for my hard work but what did labour dept. did nothing.

    Like 11
  2. Rubber Duck says:

    The evil here is that local employers have deducted the tax , NHI and social security from workers wages but not passed that money onto the government. They have in fact stolen it.

    But it is the workers who are being punished for it by losing their work permits and being thrown out while the employers are let free.

    Not justice.

    Like 23
    Dislike 1
  3. let's be real says:

    Employers and business were wiped out financially after the hurricanes. The labour laws did not and still so not have anything in place to actually deal with a “act of god’ situation. They still expect employers to come up with severance pay as if it was just a normal situation. This is unfair to employers. As an employer, I believe that the government has to assist financially. Businesses are suffering and no they are expected to come up with money to pay not one but an entire staff on demand. Minister of Labour, please do your part in helping bot employers and employees. Law suits are not the solution. Take a look at the whole picture. If you have been a good employer, a good business person, a fair an honest business in good standing please see the side of the employers too. We can’t pay if there is no money or income. This is an unprecedented issue. Stop putting employees agains their employers. It is not fair. Everyone is suffering.

  4. Expatriados says:

    El problema es que algunos empleados tenemos miedo de decir los que muchos empleadores nos hacen aveces vamos a la oficinas de trabajo ah quejarnos y inmediatamente salimos ellos llaman a nuestros Empleadores y les dicen con lujo y detalles y se van del lado de sus raíces los expatriados estamos jodidos nadie nos defiende no hay nada que nos ampare nos están tratando como perros

  5. Barry says:

    Disputes??? How can there be so many disputes and almost all businesses are closed? I find that hard to believe.

    • Unknown says:

      There are disputes because businesses are closed…that’s the whole point. If you are not in a job, or you’re on half pay, etc…I guess you sue your employer?

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