THE INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES TRIBUNAL
Prior to 1975, industrial relations in Jamaica were regulated by the Public Utility Undertakings and Public Services Arbitration Law (PUUPSA), simply referred to as the Essential Services Law (ESL), 1952, as well as the Trade Disputes (Arbitration and Enquiry) Act, 1957 (TDAE). The PUUPSA/ESL provides for compulsory arbitration of disputes which occurred in industries that were considered essential services. The TDAE provided for mediation, conciliation and voluntary arbitration by the parties to a trade dispute. However, owing to the deficiencies of these pieces of legislation, they were repealed and replaced with what eventually became known as the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act (the LRIDA) of 1975. The Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act established the Industrial disputes Tribunal to serves as a permanent statutory Tribunal. It was to provide for a quick and economical third party settlement of disputes generally and not only for the settlement of disputes related to essential services.
The Industrial Disputes Tribunal (the Tribunal/IDT) is a quasi-judicial body established in 1975 under the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act to arbitrate on all industrial disputes referred to it by the Minister of Labour and Social Security who has responsibility under the Act.
The Industrial Disputes Tribunal deals with disputes involving unionised as well as non-unionised workers.
The objectives of the IDT are:
- To facilitate the settlement of industrial disputes and to hand down Awards in accordance with the law.
- To achieve peaceful dispute resolution
- To assist in the maintenance of industrial harmony and stability in the country
The Tribunal’s Awards should be consistent with all laws concerning wages, conditions of employment and hours of work and should take into account the national interest.
The Tribunal in its determination and settlement of disputes pays attention to the Labour Relations Code which purpose is to promote good labour relations.
The Tribunal’s cadre is a Chairman, two Deputy Chairmen and six Members appointed by the Minister of Labour and Social Security. Three of the Members are nominated by the Jamaica Employers Federation and three nominated by the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Union. The Administrative Head of the Office is a Secretary/Director appointed by the Office of the Services Commission as well as support staff.
Powers of the Tribunal
The LRIDA outlines the power and authority of the Tribunal. The Jury (Amendment) Act 2015, Sexual Harassment Bill 2015 and the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, 2017 outline the principles and procedures on how matters which fall under these Legislations can be referred directly to the IDT without reference to the Ministry or conciliation services. This represents a significant change in Labour Law and how parties access the IDT.
The operating procedures and guidelines are available from the Office of the Secretariat, 4 Ellesmere Road, Kingston 10. Our telephone numbers are 9265746 and 9268232. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.