Monday 23 September, 2019

TTCSI says the Industrial Court should make JTUM pay

The Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) says it supports the Industrial Court's recent decision to drop the ‘contempt of court’ case against the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, its CEO Gabriel Faria, businessman Frank Mouttet and attorney Derek Ali.

TTCSI is further pleading with the court to order the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) to cover the costs.

"We call on the Court to go one step further, and instruct JTUM to reimburse all costs incurred by the parties, as it was their failure to present evidence and arguments, despite repeated requests from the Court, that led to this outcome."

The inquiry arose out of a meeting held by the T&T Chamber on November 30, 2016, under the theme “The Impact of Industrial Court Judgements on your Business.”

At the event, Mouttet blamed the Industrial Court for decreased levels of productivity in the country. He said this made it increasingly difficult for employers to terminate workers. Mouttet also reportedly hinted that the court favoured workers and their unions while being harsh and oppressive towards employers.

The JTUM heavily criticised the comments. The court subsequently issued a summons for appearance in December 2016. 

Lawyers representing the accused argued that the court had no pow­er to hold the in­quiry, as the comments were not made dur­ing a court hearing.

Meanwhile, the TTCSI says steps should be taken to ensure that something like this does not reoccur.

"As we go forward, it is recommended that the Court seek to implement policies to prevent this type of incident from happening again, especially in a case when there is a complete lack of substance in the accusations being made. Arbitrary and unsubstantiated ‘attacks’ on those who share their opinions, should never be tolerated. This experience has been an extremely trying one for the business community, as we have felt that a fundamental right - the freedom of speech - was eroded by the actions of the Union."

TTCSI says constructive tripartite consultations are the right mechanism for the improvement of the country's industrial relations legislation and environment. The coalition adds that they are committed to working with all parties to build a more just and balanced system.

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