ONDCP workers no longer under Labour Code

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The employees of the Office of National Drug & Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) are to be removed from the jurisdiction of the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Code and to have their benefits and employment terms governed under regulation as a “paramilitary” body.
Those regulations are to come under the Office of National Drug & Money Laundering Control Act 2003 and have become necessary as the Labour Commissioner Amendment Bill 2017 seeks to remove workers at the ONDCP from the Labour Code’s authority.
When the Amendment Bill was debated it was agreed after an alarm was raised by Senator Chester Hughes that a commencement date would be added to the amendment to give the government time to bring employment regulations for ONDCP workers into force.
Hughes said, “If we’re going to legislate them into a paramilitary organisation then we ought to know what we’re going to do for them and their family. What coverage do they have and what coverage are we offering them as a Parliament?”
He said the people affected were “going from being civilians covered by the Labour Code with benefits and collective bargaining” to “a paramilitary bargaining where their rights are as those in a military as in a one track or one way street”.
Hughes also said, “When they were engaged they were engaged as civilians and non-established employees. Today we as a Parliament cannot just change their terms and conditions by legislating them away from under the protection of the Labour Code.”
The Labour Code stipulates that it shall not apply to “established employees of the Government” nor to “persons in the naval, military, or air forces of the Government”. It also does not apply to “the Police Force”. The Labour Commissioner Amendment Bill 2017 proposed to add “or the Office of National Drug & Money Laundering Control Policy” after “the Police Force”.
Leader of Government Business in the Senate Lennox Weston said, “We have to come to some consideration as to how these people are going to function and whether or not there’s a role for civilian professionals who will work [at the ONDCP].
“But I don’t think it fair to hire professionals who go there as civilians and then force them into military-like operations. What I have been advised is that because they are being placed into no man’s land…this piece of legislation will not go into effect until they have defined the rule under which they can govern the employees of the ONDCP.”

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