Union official says Industrial Court’s backlog nearing crisis state

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The Industrial Court in Antigua and Barbuda has been inactive for numerous months causing a further delay of its cases and the Deputy General Secretary of the Antigua Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) Chester Hughes is purporting that the buildup of cases will soon develop into a crisis.

“We have a case with the Transport Board …

[in]

2014 we had filed this matter; we’ve had a hearing and we’re awaiting a decision. We’ve had a subsequent election since then and we have not had a decision from the court on this Transport Board matter where those employees were terminated … and we have individual matters that are waiting and this is just the Antigua and Barbuda’s Workers Union. You also have other unions that have matter. We have lawyers that have matters and we have practitioners of industrial relations who have filed matters at the court,” Hughes said.

“We have a case right now that has to do with ACB [Antigua Commercial Bank], that has to do with the whole question of the collective agreement, and the interpretation of the decision of the Court that took quite a long time. So these workers at ACB, they’re getting frustrated and sometimes the frustration is based on the union and not on the system.”

According to Hughes, trade disputes, industrial action and unfair dismissal cases have not had a final review, nor have they been scheduled for a hearing date. In fact, there are believed to be at least 59 cases pending in the Industrial Court.

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