The Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC) is once again putting its full support and advocacy behind open trading on the traditional “Merchants’ Holiday” this January 3rd, 2012.
The DAIC has repeatedly advanced that “Merchants’ Holiday” is not a dies non in the Commonwealth of Dominica and, as such, any decision to close has to be at the determination of the employer.
The Association is therefore advocating full trading on January 3rd, 2012.
CEO of the DAIC, Achille Chris Joseph said, “Traditionally, the colonial employer closed to the public on January 2nd so that he could count his stock. In those days, businesses all ran a January to December fiscal year so it was necessary to confirm stock levels at the beginning of the year. Today, this is not a necessity. With the advent of electronic storage of inventory data, a business can know its stock at the push of a button. But quite apart from closing to the public, workers usually worked inside counting stock. So for many workers, it was not a holiday.”
Speaking on the subject last year, Joseph, said, “Merchants’ Holiday in general and the fact that it falls on Sunday this time around may just be the opportune time for social partners to look at the totality of non-productive breaks in Dominica.”
On reflection, he now says that the DAIC raised the debate in 2010 and invited social partners to contribute to a discussion on the relevance of “Merchants’ Holiday” and come to a consensus, but some commentators saw it as a fight and the ensuing exchange of words achieved nothing.
The plethora of leave provisions in Dominica are already alarming and include the following:
Every Sunday – 52 days
Other Public Holidays – 12 days
Minimum Vacation – 12 days
Maternity Leave – 72 days
Certified Sick Leave – 36 days
Industrial Injury – 156 days
Compassionate Leave – 2 days
Other leaves provided for in industrial agreements include:
Uncertified Sick Leave
“How can we speak of productivity and competitiveness in an environment of such negative drivers?” the CEO asked.