Labour Ministry will continue to hold strictly to what the law says – Min. Hamilton on GTU’s illegal strike

Labour Minister, Joseph Hamilton has emphasised once more that the ministry’s position remains the same on the illegal strike that started last Monday, as the two sides 00are still in discussions.

The minister made the remarks during a televised interview, on Friday, in response to the protest orchestrated by the GTU in front of the Ministry of Labour yesterday.

“The intervention you are asking for us to do…We are not at that stage yet because the parties are still locked in conversation,” he stressed.

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton

The strike, he emphasised, might have started where teachers indeed were prosecuting their grievances but it has since shifted purely into a political activity.

Minister Hamilton highlighted, “You would see that maximum politicians and political types imposed themselves on this protest or this picketing exercise…So far, everything that they have displayed suggests that this strike is not about the negotiation between them and the Ministry of Education. So now, I suspect that they are seeking to have the Ministry of Labour enter into this conversation to mediate…As far as we know, the other party has indicated and will continue to indicate that we are still in discussions.”

He reiterated that more than 60 per cent of the legal demands have been met.

Added to that, he stated, “Some of them are thorny issues that we have to work through, procedurally and otherwise. I suspect that the strike will take a different turn on Monday… where the focus will now be, in my view, the Ministry of Labour.”

He reiterated that an employer is not obliged to pay an employee who does not report for duty without a legitimate rationale.

“People are attempting to treat this controversy differently to other activities in the labour arena. This is an employer and a representative for an employee like any other strike. I want people to understand that… The law is for everyone,” the labour minister posited.

The procedure, he added, as it relates to labour laws and relations has not changed and will not change.

He opined it cannot change to satisfy one sector of the population.

For two decades, the GTU has not submitted their financial statements, which is mandated but the law, to the Deeds and Commercial Registries.

For context, Minister Hamilton explained, “the law talks about that any trade union that fails to submit their audited financial statements to the registrar of trade unions can be struck off of the books.”

Furthermore, he emphasised that teachers should question whether or not the GTU is negotiating on their behalf or for themselves.

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