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AfricaMoney | August 18, 2017

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Mauritius arbitration body wraps up investigation of SICOM industrial relations

Mauritius arbitration body wraps up investigation of SICOM industrial relations

The investigation was triggered when the SICOM Employees Union (SEU) was refused official recognition by the management of SICOM. (Image: MBC)

The Commission for Conciliation and Mediation (CCM) under the Mauritius Ministry of Labour has completed its investigation into the status of industrial relations in the State Insurance Company of Mauritius (SICOM).

The investigation was triggered when the SICOM Employees Union (SEU) was refused official recognition by the management of SICOM as the labor union defending the interests of the employees, while the labor union stated that the rate of representativeness is beyond the requisite 30%.

CCM President Pr Ved Prakash Torul submitted his conclusions to Labor Minister Shakeel Mohamed on Monday and the minister met the members of the SEU and their union representative, Deepak Benydin in Victoria House yesterday.

The conclusions of the report will be presented to the members of this labor union in the presence of Deepak Benydin from the Federation of Prastatal Bodies and Other Unions during this meeting.

Labour Minister Shakeel Mohamed had sponsored the report and the CCM had been asked to investigate the industrial relations situation at SICOM and to evaluate the status of SEU’s representativeness in the labour cadre of the company.

Deepak Benydin explained that, in view of the fact that a special committee was established in SICOM for the preparation of a wage report, it would be judicious if a labor union recognized by the management could participate in the negotiations and provide inputs for the discussion.

The dispute dates back to April 2013 when the SICOM Employees Union, affiliated to the Federation of Parastatal Bodies and Other Unions, obtained its official records from the Registrar of Associations.

The management rejected a request made by the labor union on April 9, 2013 to obtain official recognition, triggering a request by the labor union and the employees to the Ministry of Labour to intervene.

Hence, during a tripartite meeting on September 23, 2013, the labour minister asked the management to explain why the labor union was denied recognition when the rate of unionization is beyond the 30% as recommended by the law.

Further to a press conference, SICOM was condemned by the minister for resorting to delaying tactics. The law grants the employer only 30 days’ notice to revert to a demand for labor union recognition, which had been violated by SICOM, as pointed out by the minister.

In response, SICOM asserted in a communiqué that it would be inclined to recognize the SEU only ‘on condition that the latter benefits from a representativeness in compliance with labor laws.’

Deepak Benydin condemned these acts of intimidation, stating that such actions were taken against employees to discourage them from forming a labor union.

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