DEF alarmed by WAWU branding employers as exploiters

Joseph (left) Augustus

A May Day Rally statement made by Kertiste Augustus, Secretary-Treasurer of the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU), to the effect that employers are using Hurricane Maria to exploit workers is very unfortunate and has caught the attention of the Dominica Employers’ Federation (DEF).

Executive Director of the DEF, Achille Chris Joseph, is taking issue with Augustus’ statement that, “There appears to be a posture of exploitation of redundancy by some prominent employers in Dominica. The provisions of the law have been set aside in one case, for whereas the law provides for six weeks layoff, that employer has issued to his staff six months notice of lay-off.”

Joseph is issuing an open challenge to Augustus to make that law available to employers in Dominica since he, Joseph, does not know of the existence of such law.

“I will go further to say that no such law exists in the Commonwealth of Dominica, and any attempt to make the text of the law say so, is clearing a misreading of the construction and intent of the law,” Joseph said.

He added, “There is no statutory upper limit on the duration of layoff since it is a relief available to employers when their businesses are faced with operational and structural frustration, and only the employer can determine the period of absence.”

Joseph went on to say that after Hurricane Maria, some employers did not lay off workers at all and carried their employee on the payroll even when little or no work was done.

“There were also many employers who were able to recall their employees after a couple weeks on lay-off. Only a few, and I mean, a few employers still have employees on lay-off,” he stated. “Did we ever hear the Unions commend employers who bit the bullet and kept their staffs on the job? How many Unions did we hear come out publicly and condemned the looting and raping of private businesses?”

Joseph said that following Maria, Dominica is “witnessing a society harboring hostility to business and industry.”


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  1. Jah Bless
    May 9, 2018

    Sometimes I wonder whether Mr. Joseph has the best interest of the employees at heart. Where have you been Mr. Joseph 7 months after Maria? All of a sudden you talking. what about the employers who took advantage of their employees. There are employees who have been unemployed since Maria, only received 1 month salary since Maria, the employers are not saying a word about their annual vacation which is owed to them. These employees did not received one bottle of water from their employers after Maria, now they are hearing of completely new working conditions, longer hours and no increase in pay. Pure Wickedness.

  2. Let's Be Real
    May 9, 2018

    To my knowledge, people who kept their jobs and didn’t clean were employed by the government. We were exploited! And have been for many years. The context of raising the issue maybe not be legally accurate, however the private sector does exploit their staff. The “Raping of private business” should be considered serious. Why would people bite off the hands that feed them? High prices, low wages, little/ no training/ employee development, and limited opportunity. After Erica the majority of what was damaged was thrown away, Dominicans decided “this time we not watching good food throw”…. Especially when they know how these business owners stay. Yes there were those who vandalized properties, but wrong doers love a good opportunity.

  3. Anon
    May 9, 2018

    Interesting that Mr Joseph didn’t address claims that employees who were rehired are being paid lower wages than before.

    • Jheri
      May 9, 2018

      Oldest trick in the book.
      Person A lists 10 grievances
      Person B highlights fallacy in 2 grievances

      Everyone else scolds Person A for being wrong

      No one gets around to the other 8

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