The Ministry of Immigration and Border Services and the Labour Tribunal visited Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland between the 4th to 8th September 2023.
The Ministry was represented by Deputy Permanent Secretary Mr. Pascal Bacchus, while President of the Labor Tribunal, Mrs. M. Doreen Quelch Missick represented that body.
This initiative was geared towards exposing the TCI to the workings of the Labour Tribunal in different jurisdictions, primarily, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
For FY 23-34, training of staff was identified as one of the Key Program Strategies of the Ministry and as such, this exposure provided the opportunity for participants to observe best practices, standards and policies in employment dispute resolution.
A number of key similarities and differences were observed in both jurisdictions. Moreover, a number of nuances were observed which can enhance the TCI commitment to resolving disputes equitably. All jurisdictions have provisions to resolve disputes through conciliation before reaching the Labour Tribunal stage.
However, Northern Ireland has an additional layer in their dispute resolution mechanism and that is Judicial Mediation. It is envisaged that these observed best practices will be adopted and implemented to form part of the decent work agenda ensuring social justice for all. Participants were also given the opportunity to observe live Labour Tribunal Matters being adjudicated upon.
The agencies visited were:
· Labour Relations Agency – Northern Ireland
· Office of the Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal - Northern Ireland
· Equality Commission - Northern Ireland
· Workplace Relations Commission – Republic of Ireland
· Law Centre - Northern Ireland
Commenting on this visit and collaboration, Minister for Immigration and Border Services with responsibilities for the Labour Tribunal Hon. Arlington Chuck Musgrove opined, “My Ministry and Government continues to upskill staff to ensure better service delivery to our citizens and those who work and reside among us.
As our country continues to grow and develop, there will always be disputes between employers and employees. Hence, both the collaboration and training are timely, to ensure that disputes are resolved to the highest standards and to ensure equity for all involved.”