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AfricaMoney | October 17, 2017

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Mauritius’ sugar union demands MSPA pay workers who had gone on strike

Mauritius’ sugar union demands MSPA pay workers who had gone on strike

A week after the resumption of work, the impact of the sugar sector strike can be ascertained to have been negative at all levels as employees have lost part of their remuneration, the sector as a whole has declined not only in operational and financial terms – several thousand tons of cane were condemned and harvest has been extended until the end of January next year — but also in terms of its reputation in the international markets. (Image: Biofuelstp)

The members of the Mauritius Sugar Producers’ Association (MSPA) today received a formal notice from the Joint Negotiating Panel (JNP) to pay the annual premiums for presence, attendance and seniority to employees who participated in the strike and also requesting assurance that no harm should be caused to them.

However, if the MSPA fails to take the notice into consideration, the JNP warned that it will take legal action.

The union’s stance is based primarily on the fact that the law protects strikers against any victimisation, and, according to them, the non-payment of premiums is a form of victimisation.

In this regard, the members of the MSPA reiterated that the law is very clear regarding the legal consequences of a strike.

Among other consequences, Section 83 (2) of the Employment Relations Act advocates that the employee participating in a legal strike is not entitled to compensation during the strike, including de facto paying bonuses or bonus linked to working days unrealised during this strike.

Moreover, this has been explained at various occasions to employees who are members of the MSPA and this was done even before the strike began.

The position of members of the MSPA remains the same and the employees who have been on strike will not be entitled to any remuneration for the duration of the strike. No harm will be caused to them as well.

The members of the MSPA noted that have always trusted the country’s laws to guide them, and, this time again, they would rely on the judicial system if the JNP was to take court action against them because they are confident about the legal correctness of their position.

However, the MSPA recalled that they had always maintained that the strike was not the solution and that everyone would lose it.

A week after the resumption of work, the impact of the strike can be ascertained to have been negative at all levels. Employees have lost part of their remuneration, the sector as a whole has declined not only in operational and financial terms – several thousand tons of cane were condemned and harvest has been extended until the end of January next year — but also in terms of its reputation in the international markets.

Finally, a strike causes a painful tear in industrial relations within the companies themselves, and it will effectively take much time to repair the social and human damage caused by the strike.

This tear in the social fabric is supported by several abusive actions from the strikers such as acts of obstructing the work of non-strikers, blocking access to certain sites and intimidation acts and violence against the management or staff, concluded the MSPA.

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