Mauritius to tighten labour laws with new rulesBy LINLEY BIGNOUX in Port Louis | Wednesday, April 25 2012 at 19:30
Mauritius will tighten its labour laws to protect workers' rights, a minister has said.
Labour minister Shakeel Mohamed said numerous amendments would be made to existing laws to provide a strong employer-employee working relationship.
Among targeted laws are the Employment Relations Act and the Employment Rights Act to enable the reinstatement of employees suspended from their duties and allow all employees to participate in collective bargaining.
The changes would seek to further protect worker's rights, said Mr Mohamed.
"These amendments will further promote effective dialogue between unions and build consultation on issues of national importance for workers," he said.
"They will furthermore define clearly the role and responsibilities of employers with regard to compliance to the laws."
Changes have been proposed after consultation with trade unions, the Mauritius Employers' Federation and the International Labour Organisation.
As part of the measures, an (EEPT) Employment Promotion and Protection Tribunal will be set up to determine whether cases in workplace redundancy or closure of enterprises are justified by companies.
Termination of employment, particularly in regards to breach of contract, and desertion of laws in workers contacts are to be staunchly audited and regulated as well.
Contractual work agreements will be altered to prevent employers from making unrelated and spiteful use of contracts of employment although how this will work is still unclear.
New retirement age
Under the new laws, employees will be permitted to work until the new retirement age of 65 years old, with the benefit of retirement to be calculated in a manner complimentary to employees.
The new laws will also make it more intricate for employers to sack workers on the grounds that are deemed “irrelevant” by the government through a tribunal process.
Laws regarding industrial offences will be increased, with fines from Rupees 10,000 to Rupees 25 000 and extend the term of imprisonment to two years for employers found to be in violation of the laws.
Sources within the Mauritian financial sector say that the new laws are a way of streamlining the working economy to be competitive in the African region, and are largely seen as the first step in employment reforms and proper regulation.
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