Opinion

Move To Clear Backlog Of Employment Cases Welcome

Those who have had their employment-related cases pending before the Employment Relations Tribunal can be sure that their cases will be heard much faster now. Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum tabled the
25 Mar 2017 09:07
Move To Clear Backlog Of Employment Cases Welcome
Employment

Those who have had their employment-related cases pending before the Employment Relations Tribunal can be sure that their cases will be heard much faster now.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum tabled the amendment to the Employment Relations Bill in Parliament this week and it was passed on Thursday. It is  astonishing that no previous Attorney-General saw fit to do this before.

For several years, many workers who have cases pending before the Employment Relations Tribunal have had to endure the agony of waiting.

They will tell you of their disappointment in finding out there was no one to hear their cases.

This was a reality and it is totally unacceptable in this modern day and age.

People had been given their trial dates and to be present at Suva, for example.

On that date, people would then find out that the tribunal would sit in the West for the reminder of the week and a new date would be assigned to them.

This just adds to their stress and puts another burden on a person already fighting for justice. This added stress is not what anyone needs. Now, this will not be the case.

The Employment Relations Tribunal will come under the stewardship of the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice and the Chief Magistrate will be able to assign judges and magistrates to hear tribunal matters. More judges and magistrates will be available now to hear tribunal cases than ever before.

Those with grievances can be sure that the backlog of cases will be dealt with swiftly. This also gives the Chief Justice the opening to hire more judges and magistrates.

Some employment relation cases have been pending for up to seven years. This is seven years spent fighting for justice for an ordinary Fijian.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

It is encouraging to see that this matter has been dealt with seriously by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and the FijiFirst Government.

The Employment Relations Tribunal is effective from a worker’s perspective because you don’t need a lawyer to fight your case. You can represent yourself or get someone else who understands the employment law and not necessarily a lawyer to fight for you. The tribunal’s  accessibility has now been significantly enhanced by this law change.

This move reinforces Government’s commitment to give all workers, unionised and non-unionised a fair go. The tribunal is independent and is the best forum for workers and employers alike.

Most of the recent cases that have been dealt with by the Employment Relations Tribunal have ended in favour of employees.

They highlighted the importance of compliance with the provisions of the Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP), now the bible for both the employers and employees.

Trade unions must embrace this mechanism and ensure that their members are given proper representation. That has not happened in some cases.

This is a cost effective process that embraces the principles of justice and fairness.

 

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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