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Minister of Labor Joins the C.W.U./P.B.L. Conversation

May 11, 2023

Minister of Labor Joins the C.W.U./P.B.L. Conversation

Oscar Requeña

On several occasions leading up to today’s meeting, the C.W.U. has called out the Ministry of Labor for its apparent silence on the matter.  Notwithstanding a brief meeting last Friday with union executives, C.W.U. accused government of taking a backseat in addressing the impasse.  Earlier today, Minister of Labor Oscar Requeña joined the three-way discussion and later informed the media that government’s responsibility also includes facilitating the settlement of trade disputes.

Oscar Requeña, Minister of Labor

“It has always been our responsibility, as the Ministry of Labor, to get involved.  Whenever these issues arise, we have a responsibility to ensure that we play our role as a Ministry of Labor.”

Reporter

“The union, specifically, has accused the ministry as the regulator, that’s how they’ve named you because they’ve said the tribunal falls under your umbrella, that you’ve just allowed PBL to flout the ruling of the tribunal, when that ruling is final.”

Oscar Requeña

“I think it is important that I clarify that under the Settlement of Essential Services Dispute Act that there is a clear mechanism.  Under the grievance mechanism section which makes it absolutely clear that if there is a grievance between the parties that there is a process through which the Ministry of Labor is going to be engaged.  So that was clearly outlined. This is where we need to make the clarification that the matter of enforcement is not a matter for the Ministry of Labor.  The matter of enforcement is a matter for the High Court, so if you have an aggrieved party [that] is not happy in terms of, you know, how the ruling is being complied with then they have an obligation to take the matter to the High Court for enforcement.”

Reporter

“Do you see any end in sight for this loggerhead between the two parties?”

Oscar Requeña

“Well I’ll tell you what, this is a process.  You have to understand that this is a process and I believe that, you know, as the ministry, we have, contrary to the reports that were made, we have been engaged, we have been speaking to both sides.  Last week, you know, we brought both sides to the table.  Today, that process continued and we must continue to be engaged.”