Minister’s ethics questioned



Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Chief Executive Officer, Edison Sumner.

An amendment to the Employment Act has caused professionals across industries to raise questions about the future of employee relations, particularly as it relates to staffing.

During a workshop by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation workshop yesterday, business owners, attorneys, and human resource officers among others, noted the change in legislation is too ambiguous and allows for more complexity rather than simplification.

The noted amendment, which is recorded in section 26 A of the act states, that in a scenario of 20 or more employees being made redundant, employers are required to consult with the Minister of Labour, by writing said minister at least two weeks before making any position redundant.

One participant of the workshop noted that consulting the minister shouldn’t be required and instead considered in any given scenario.

Some participants argued that the minister can intervene and can attempt to persuade. However, participants further argued that in a democratic country such as The Bahamas, the employer still has the right to go ahead with any redundancy if  it meets the criteria set out in the law.

Belinda Wilson, president of the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT), also a participant of the workshop noted, that if the minister is required to have a two week notice prior to redundancy, then the same requirement should be given to the minister with regard to his response time.

While Sumner noted that Wednesday’s workshop was not intended to spark debate on the changes to the act, he said there will be another workshop where individuals can provide their feedback and express their concerns.