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Mandeville: Most pressing concern is AIDS

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Monday, May 1 is Labour Day but the most pressing concern for Alice Mandeville, president of the Commercial Technical Allied Workers Union (CTAWU) is not that of working conditions or wages, but rather AIDS.

Mandeville told Searchlight that the nation’s largest trade union is seeking the assistance of Fr. Alrick Skerritt of the House of Hope Society to set up a sex education program for some of its members. “We pay a small death benefit to our workers’ beneficiary and most of the deaths recently are AIDS related.” stated a concerned Mandeville.{{more}}

She expressed displeasure at how some Government daily paid watchmen’s employment was terminated, hinting that the method used was a backward step taking all the developments in labour into consideration. “They should have first had discussions with us as the Act guides,” she stated referring to the Protection of Employment Act of 2003.

Mandeville told SEARCHLIGHT that the union’s concerns have already been raised with the Minister of Labour and a meeting with the Ministry of Transport and Works is also planned to discuss the issue.

The labour boss said that plans are being finalized to bring awareness to labour issues during May, but at press time, details of the month-long plan were not yet available.

SEARCHLIGHT spoke to Labour Commissioner Patrice Roberts-Samuel who also expressed satisfaction that there has been continuous improvement in the labour sector over the years. “We have come a long way since the 1930s.” She had high praise for the Protection of Employment Act, but is anxious to see the regulations put in place. Recommendations for these regulations have been forward to the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

“The Act states that someone can be dismissed for misconduct but we must have a clear definition of what misconduct is,” stated Roberts-Samuel as she gave an example of the need for the regulations for the mentioned act. She said that the Labour Commission has and would continue to visit workplaces with a view to educating workers and employers regarding the labour laws and also to address any concern that parties may have.

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