THE resignations of five labour representatives from the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC) have been accepted by the council's chair, Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis.
A statement issued by NTAC on Thursday said that on April 20 Robinson-Regis wrote to Christopher Henry, James Lambert, Michael Annisette, Carlton Gibson and Joseph Remy. They had all resigned from NTAC on March 11.
In informing them that their resignations had been accepted, Robinson-Regis recalled for their benefit her first letter of response, dated March 16, in which the claims they made as the basis for their resignations were denied, and they were told the door was being kept open for their return to NTAC.
NTAC said in her second letter on April 3, Robinson-Regis reminded them of the assurances that they would be allowed to return, and said NTAC "was continuing to hold the acceptance of their resignations in abeyance with a view to according them extended time to review and reconsider same."
NTAC said Robinson-Regis asked the labour representatives to inform her by April 16 whether they had reconsidered their desire to resign.
Not having received a reply by that date, the ministry said Robinson-Regis advised them that their resignations were accepted with effect from March 11.
Robinson-Regis thanked them on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Government "for their invaluable contributions to the deliberations and initiatives of the council and wished them well in their future undertakings."
NTAC assured the population that its work "continues uninterrupted especially taking into account that the progress of the council has advanced to a critical inflection point from which much can be expected."
In a joint letter on March 11, the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC), Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN) said their representatives resigned from NTAC because they "firmly believe that our continued participation in NTAC would be sacrilegious to the aims and objectives of the trade union movement."
All three groups claimed they "are now of the firm belief that the Government now feels that they have a template for getting rid of trade union representation and collective agreements at state enterprises."
In a statement earlier last week, before the labour representatives resigned from NTAC, Robinson-Regis said the council was an independent institution, but Cabinet reserves the prerogative to select the chair.
She also said, "The withdrawal of the trade union sector from this august body could not have come at a more inopportune time. In doing so, they have denied themselves the self-satisfaction of being advised first-hand of the rewards of their own labour, many of which are about to bear fruit."
Robinson-Regis said these included making recommendations to Cabinet to enhance productivity and the work ethic and to amend the Industrial Relations Act and the Retrenchment and Severance Benefits Act, discussing amendments to the Workmen’s Compensation Act and helping to craft the covid19 public-sector workplace policy.