Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 21st 2014 Contents A6
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A C A
The Judiciary will not pay
administrative staff at the San Fer-
nando Magistrate s Court who
have refused to work until their
health and safety concerns are
The workers received letters
informing them of the salary cut
yesterday, two days after they defied
the Judiciary s instruction to return
In an immediate response Public
Service Association president Wat-
son Duke accused the Judiciary of
acting illegally and violating the
Occupational Safety and Health
Duke said the workers were acting
under Section 15 of the OSH Act.
The T&T Guardian understands,
however, that two of the workers
returned to work yesterday.
In a letter signed by Shantie
Bhimul, industrial relations officer,
the workers were referred to the
judiciary s letter to the PSA on
August 15 in which it attached a
copy of a Cariri report, stating that
indoor quality test conducted at the
court showed there was no risk to
employees health or life at the
"Your continued failure to report
for duty without any reasonable
justification means that you have
continued to act in contravention
of Section 16 (1) of the Act," it said.
Referring to the August 15 letter,
which also stated that PSA had
failed to follow the grievance pro-
cedure, the Judiciary stated:
"Your failure to perform your
assigned duties without any lawful
reasonable excuse continues to have
a negative impact on the functions
of the court.
"Please be advised that your
absence will be treated as absence
without leave and as a result no
payment of salary will be made in
response of your absence from
August 5, 2014."
No pay for absent workers---Judiciary
Duke: It violates OSH Act
Duke yesterday called on OSH
Authority to take the Judiciary to
court for breaking the law.
He explained that in a meeting
with acting court executive adminis-
trator Jerome Mark he advised him
the workers acted in accordance
with Section 15 of the act.
Within 24 hours after workers
walked off the job, he said, the chief
inspector should have inspected the
building but that was only done a
He said a report was then sup-
posed to have been submitted in 72
hours but to date they have re-
ceived no report.
"But under Section 26 of the Act
we pointed out that until the report
is received the employees who were
acting under Section 15 must be
deemed to be at work and paid their
regular or premium rate and that
there can be no discipline, dismissal
or imposing of penalty upon those
employees in accordance with Sec
20 (A) of the Act," he added.
Duke said he got no response
when he was asked if the workers
would receive their full salary.
He said Mark told them someone
from the OSH Authority said the
workers' action did not fall under
the ambit of Section 15.
Duke said he informed him that
the Cariri report received was air
quality test in respect to the pres-
ence of asbestos.
"I said what about the presence
of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide,
moulds, he could not answer. I told
him the employees specific concern
was a valid fire certificate and if he
had it, he could not answer," he
He said it was clear the Judiciary
was breaking the law to protect its
"As a result I am writing the OSH
Authority and asking under Section
80 for the OSH Authority to take
them to the Industrial Court for
breaking the law," he added.
He said he also would be asking
for similar action to be taken
against the Sugar Industry Labour
and Welfare Committee which has
cut the pay of workers for refusing
to work under Section 15.
When contacted yesterday, Judiciary's senior court communications
officer Cassie Ann James said the Judiciary would issue a statement
on the situation today.
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