Antigua: Passed law on Workplace Inspection for Domestic Workers
Read the original article in full: Lower House approves amendments to two key labour laws | Antigua Observer
The Lower House of Parliament has appproved amendments to two critical pieces of law, which speak to the rights of workers and their right to be protected.
The Labour Commissioner (Amend-ment) Bill 2017 and the Labour Code (Amendment) Act 2017 were passed on Friday, despite minor objections from the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP).
The Labour Commissioner Bill was changed to give the labour commissioner the right to enter any workplace to examine the conditions under which workers are employed.
Labour Minister Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin was the mover of the Bill. He said under the previous legislation, domestic workers had not been accounted for.
“This is triggered by a complaint made by an employee,” the minister said. “Many times we have people calling and complaining and most of the time they are not unionised. So what they do, they go directly to the labour commissioner to lodge the complaint and she must have the right to go and make the investigation. Domestic servants were never covered.”
Member of Parliament for the St John’s Rural West Constituency Baldwin Spencer expressed concern that the changes in the act could infringe on the rights of the trade unions to bargain on the behalf of workers.
He said such intentions should be carefully ventilated.
“If it could lead to an encroachment situation, we have to look at it. I think it is important for us to look more closely at this and see what the impact would be and I think I have a responsibility as a longstanding trade unionist to be able to raise the matter,” Spencer, who is also the leader of the opposition, said.
Story Type: News