President Christine Kangaloo needs to publicly state the basis upon which she concluded that Deborah Thomas-Felix’s term as President of the Industrial Court did not need to be renewed.
The call has been made by the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM).
On Wednesday, the President’s Office announced the appointment of Heather Seale as the new Industrial Court head.
JTUM, in a release, says it is concerned over the new appointment, given the communication which the trade union movement sent to the President on Tuesday, calling on her to reconsider her decision on Thomas-Felix.
JTUM said it is clear that the President has not taken into consideration critical issues raised in the letter of the three federations delivered to her.
It said the unprecedented manner in which the appointment has been made now raises serious concerns over the perception of the independence of the Industrial Court.
JTUM noted with great concern that the President’s husband Kerwyn Garcia regularly appears before the Industrial Court on behalf of employers, including state enterprises such as WASA, Caribbean Airlines Limited and the National Insurance Board.
It added there is presently before the Industrial Court a very controversial matter in which PSA is seeking to enforce collective agreements recording NIB’s agreement to increase the salaries of staff by nine per cent.
It claimed the Attorney General regarded the matter as being so important that he intervened in the dispute, and pursuant to that intervention, the Minister of Finance has contended that he
was unaware that NIB was going to agree to salary increases of 9 per cent and does not agree to such an increase.
JTUM noted that in that matter, the NIB is represented by Garcia.
The dispute, it said, was being heard by a panel chaired by Thomas-Felix.
It again called on the President to publicly state the basis upon which she concluded that Thomas-Felix’s term ought not to be renewed.