Minister of Employment, Labour, and Social Security, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, on Thursday January 18, 2024, in a bid to address the persistent challenges faced by the Industrial Court engaged the Chief Justice, Nicholas Browne Marke and High Court Judges on January 18, 2024.
Accompanied by the Ministry’s senior staff, including the Permanent Secretary, Fatmata Mustapha, Minister Swaray acknowledged the commendable efforts of the Judiciary in resolving labor disputes over the years. However, he highlighted pressing issues hindering the seamless administration of justice in the Industrial Court.
The establishment of the Industrial Court, mandated by Part 3 Section 34 of the Regulations of Wages and Industrial Relation Act number 18 of 1971, is designed to handle unresolved disputes related to labor and employment.
Minister Swaray expressed gratitude for the Chief Justice’s time and acknowledged the Judiciary’s dedication. However, he voiced concerns about delays caused by numerous adjournments, leading to unrest in workplaces. He called on the Judiciary to expedite proceedings to foster harmony in the labor industry.
Among the challenges outlined by Minister Swaray were non-appearance by the opposing party, the absence of assessors as stipulated in Section 33 Subsection 3 of the Regulation of Wages and Industrial Relation Act No. 18 of 1971, lack of paralegal training for labor officers, absence of a proper schedule for industrial matters, delayed judgments, and a prolonged process to deliver judgment copies by the Court Clerk.
President Bio’s vision for an environment where workers and employers can easily access justice was emphasized by Minister Swaray. He appealed to Chief Justice, Nicholas Browne Marke, to ensure the removal of bottlenecks causing delays in the Industrial Court’s dispensation of justice.
In response, Chief Justice Nicholas Browne Marke commended the Ministry for their cooperation and commitment to justice. He assured the Minister that the Judiciary is diligently working to address the challenges faced by the Industrial Court, emphasizing the need for continued collaboration and engagement.
As a solution to streamline the process, Minister Swaray disclosed plans to appoint a Legal Adviser within the Ministry to scrutinize all labor dispute matters before they reach the court. Additionally, he proposed training sessions on Labour Laws for Judges and Ministry Staff to enhance their understanding of the legal intricacies surrounding labor disputes.
The collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Employment, Labour, and Social Security, and the Judiciary are anticipated to bring about positive changes in the resolution of labor disputes and contribute to a more harmonious working environment for both employees and employers.