More calls for comprehensive dialogue on changes to Labour Code

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A labour relations expert is suggesting that the government should revisit recent changes to the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code to provide further clarity in some areas.

Former member of the National Labour Board and former Executive Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda’s Employers Federation, Henderson Bass, made the suggestion on Sunday.

The House of Representatives recently passed amendments to the Labour Code to make employees entitled to severance pay if the company for which they work is being sold or otherwise disposed of to a successor-employer.

The other changes also include making contract workers permanent members of staff.

“There are certain things that need more clarity because there could be some legal conflicts if you leave it as it is. Even with the government’s bill, redundancy and so on has to be clarified more precisely; and the general picture, we have to review the impact because it seems like a little knee-jerk situation now,” Bass said.

He added that trade unions, hoteliers, the business community and any other employment organization should also be involved in the discourse.

The comments from Bass came just two days after the Employers Federation indicated that it is not supportive of proposed changes outlined in the Labour Code, contrary to what Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin said in Parliament last month.

The specific areas of concern related to contract workers, fixed term contracts, severance pay and its limitations. The Federation also said it anticipated continued dialogue so that a more comprehensive approach could be taken.

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