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Former AG Supports Labour Code

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Thursday, March 30, 2006 - A former Attorney General says the Labour Code, which is in its final stages of preparation, will herald a new era in industrial relations in Saint Lucia.

The Code, which has been contributed to by the unions, employers and the Government, has been welcomed by a former Attorney General of St. Lucia as “good news” for the island’s trade unions.

But Mr.. Husbands gives the unions no credit for bringing the Code about.

The former Attorney General in the previous administration expressed the view that “the recent announcement that the Government intends to put the Labour Code through the legislative process must be welcome news to the trade unions.”

But, he added, the unions “must take no credit for its passage into law.”

That notwithstanding, Mr. Husbands called on the unions – and the employers -- to make the Code work, as it will be in their interests to do so.

In an article in the Weekend Voice of March 25, Mr. Husbands wrote: “When the Labour Code becomes law, it is imperative that its principles are adhered to, as the Code is meant to foster good industrial relations by promoting the establishment of trade unions.”

He also urged workers to resist temptation to misuse or abuse the Code when it becomes law.

Said Mr. Husbands: “Many members of a trade union may be tempted to feel that this is the time to seek revenge for the past... They should desist from such action.”

The former AG also called on the country’s employers to “extend the hand of friendship and reconciliation to the unions.”

“If they treat the unions responsibly,” he opined, the unions “will respond in similar fashion.”

Mr. Husbands expressed the view that “many reforms in the union/employer relationship can be effected through good understanding and cooperation.”

He also called for honest circulation of information about the Code, saying that “the matter of information about the operations and profitability of the employer must be divulged with truth and frankness.”

Mr. Husbands also expressed his hope that the Labour Code would have positive change on the relationship between the employers and their workers.

He wrote: “I trust that the coming into operation of the Labour Code will herald a new era in the history of Labour relations in this State.”

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