The umbrella body for trade unions has joined the dissenting voices to the controversial Statutory Corporations (General Provisions) Bill 2016, suggesting that it “is a backward piece of legislation which should not see the light of day”.
President of the Antigua & Barbuda Trade Union Congress (TUC) Sandra Williams said the umbrella organisation discussed the Bill in its entirety during an executive meeting Monday evening, and has put forward several concerns which will be submitted to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, in writing.
Williams said the union is particularly concerned about Section 4 (1) of the Bill which states,” The minister responsible for a statutory corporation, shall, with the approval of the Cabinet, appoint on terms and conditions as may be concerned, appropriate, fit and proper persons to serve on the board of a statutory corporation”.
“We are of the view that boards are set up to be independent creatures of the governing statute, and therefore the decision should reflect its anatomy. When we look at that section of the Bill, we are of the view that Cabinet gives the minister too much power and appears to have ultimate control of all the decisions made by the board,” Williams said.
The TUC head also intimated that the Bill goes against good labour and industrial practices in Antigua & Barbuda.
“The minister can hire, the minister can fire, which appears to have no due process of the law.
We looked on the conditions under the Labour Code against unfair decisions and we see no indication of any appeal mechanism in the Bill.”
The Bill, passed in the Lower House of Parliament shortly before carnival, gives the minister and the Cabinet the power to appoint and terminate any member of a board of a statutory corporation if it is “expedient” to do so.
It restricts the Board from appointing or removing any senior officer or managerial personnel without the approval of Cabinet. Additionally, it gives Cabinet the power to transfer employees of statutory corporations to the public service or other corporations on “secondment”.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)