Government of Trinidad and Tobagogov.tt

Conciliation FAQs

Who can report a Trade Dispute to the Conciliation Unit?
In accordance in Section 51 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, Chapter 88:01, a Trade Dispute may be reported to the Minister only by: 

  • the employer
  • the recognised majority union
  • where there is no recognised majority union, any trade union, of which the worker or workers who are parties to the dispute are members in good standing. 

Accessing advisory services from the Conciliation Unit. 
The Conciliation Unit also facilitates an informal service by providing information and advice to: 

  • employers unions 

  • unions
  • non-unionised workers, 
    in respect of matters arising from the employment relationship or any work related issue and on the principles and practice of good industrial relations.

What is the timeframe for reporting a Trade Dispute? 
In accordance with Section 51 (3) of the Industrial Relations Act, Chapter 88:01, “a Trade Dispute may not be reported to the Minister if more than six months have elapsed since the issue giving rise to the dispute first arose”. 

What types of disputes does the Conciliation Unit address? 
In accordance with Section 2 of the Industrial Relations Act, Chapter 88:01, a Trade Dispute or Dispute may be defined as: 

any dispute between an employer and workers of that employer or a trade union on behalf of such workers, connected with the dismissal, employment, non-employment, suspension from employment, refusal to employ, re-employment or reinstatement of any such workers, including a dispute connected with the terms and conditions of the employment or labour of any such workers, and the expression also includes a dispute between workers and workers or trade unions on their behalf as to the representation of a worker (not being a question or difference as to certification of recognition under Part III)”. 

These Disputes can be further broken down into two categories: 

i. Interest Disputes

  • Breakdown in Negotiations 
  • Violation of Articles in the Collective Agreement 

ii. Rights Disputes: (Inter alia) 

  • Dismissals (verbal & written)
  • Constructive Dismissal 
  • Suspensions
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Verbal Abuse 
  • Non-renewal Contract 
  • Unilateral Variation of terms and conditions of employment 
  • Non-payment of Gratuity
  • Non-payment of Overtime
  • Non-payment of Wages/Salaries
  • Violation of the Maternity Protection Act 
  • Retrenchment 
  • Layoffs 
  • Dismissal under the guise of retrenchment
  • Abuse of Social Media 

What are some of the fundamental rights and responsibilities of workers?

Workers Rights: 

  • To join or not join a Trade Union. 
  • To be paid for work rendered. 

  • To request a fair hearing if accused of misconduct or poor performance. 

  • To representation and appeal. 

  • To leave his or her employment after giving due notice. 

  • To refuse unsafe work. 

  • To receive maternity protection (where applicable). 

  • To be free from workplace discrimination.  

Workers Responsibilities: 

  • To serve their employer in good faith. 

  • To protect their employer’s interests. 

  • Not make secret profits at their employer’s expense. 

  • Not disclose the Employer’s confidential information and/or trade secrets. 

  • Not use their employer’s time for their own personal purposes. 

  • To take reasonable care for his safety and health and that of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work. 

  • To obey legitimate instructions. 

  • Not to misconduct himself or herself. 

  • To perform his or her work/duties to the best of his or her ability while ensuring the standards set by the employer are met. 

  • To give the employer a fair day’s work. 

  • To be punctual and have regular attendance. 

  • To obtain prior permission for planned absences. 

  • To promptly inform the employer of unplanned absences.

  • To promptly inform the Employer of any breach in his or her terms and conditions of employment. 

What are some of the fundamental rights and responsibilities of employers?
 

Employers Rights: 

  • To manage the affairs of the business. 
  • To hire, fire, promote, demote, absorb, redeploy, transfer, layoff etc. 
  • To take disciplinary action against errant employees. 
  • To formulate policies. 
  • To modify, extend or cease operations. 
  • To establish standards of conduct and performance. 

Employers Responsibilities: 

  • To take reasonable precautions to secure the physical and psychological well-being of its employees. 
  • To comply with the labour laws of Trinidad and Tobago in respect of its employees. 
  • To provide work for its employees. 
  • To pay salaries, wages and allowances for work performed, on the agreed date, time, place, quantum and form. 
  • To conduct fair and transparent investigations and hearings during disciplinary proceedings. 
  • To provide employees with the opportunity to have their grievances dealt with equitably and promptly. 
  • To not discriminate against an employee based on Age, Disability, Marriage, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Political Preference, HIV Status or Union Membership.

Where are the offices of the Conciliation Unit located?
The Conciliation Unit can be accessed at the following locations: 

  • 6th Floor, Duke Place 
    50-54 Duke Street, 
    PORT OF SPAIN 
    299-0300 

  • 4th Floor, Hosein’s Building, 
    40-42 St. James Street, 
    SAN FERNANDO
    652-1056 

  • Corner John and Lange Streets, 
    CHAGUANAS 
    665-8869 

  • 69 Main Road, 
    Frisco Junction, 
    POINT FORTIN 
    648-6740 

  • Gulf City Mall, 
    Lowlands Scarborough, 
    TOBAGO 
    635-0944

To access the full Frequently Asked Questions on Conciliation, please click the following:

FAQ Option 2