Opposition criticism of Employment Tribunal delays ‘superficial and reactive’, Govt says
The Gibraltar Government said the GSD’s criticism of delays at the Employment Tribunal was “superficial and reactive” and failed to acknowledge mitigating measures put in place.
No.6 Convent Place was reacting after the GSD said many cases were “paralysed” at the tribunal and this was affecting the rights of due process of sacked employees.
The GSD highlighted that there are currently 59 cases awaiting the appointment of a chairman in the Employment Tribunal, adding some people had been waiting more than two years and describing the delays as “completely unacceptable”.
But the government said even the Law Council had “commended” the measures it had put in place to address the delays.
During the Opening of the Legal Year, Law Council chairman Kenneth Navas had welcomed the recruitment drive recruitment drive to appoint new chairs for the tribunal.
“This will hopefully help to alleviate the backlog,” he said.
But Mr Navas had also noted that the work of the Employment Tribunal continued to grow.
“There has unfortunately been little progress in reducing the backlog of cases awaiting chairperson appointment, despite significant and commendable efforts by the Ministry and Tribunal staff to cajole existing panel chairpersons to take on more cases,” he said at the time.
He later added: “My observations are not meant as a criticism of any of the stakeholders, but rather a necessary reflection of the concerns expressed to me by practitioners and parties alike in relation to this important branch of our justice system.”
The government accused the GSD of “quoting statistics” without understanding the deeper issues or proposing solutions.
Mr Navas in his speech identified the increased complexity of issues before the Employment Tribunal and welcomed the efforts made by the Ministry of Employment and the Director of Employment for the receptiveness and attention to any issues raised by the Council on behalf of its members, and to the Tribunal’s staff for the seamless transition from its outgoing secretary.
The Government’s recruitment drive in connection to the Employment Tribunal was seen as positive by the Law Council, which also acknowledged that the issue of premises had been alleviated by the Government by allowing various premises for use by the Tribunal.
The Government recognised the hard work and dedication of chairpersons of the Employment Tribunal in administering justice in employment disputes in accordance with Gibraltar’s employment laws.
As recognition for their hard work and dedication, payments made to chairpersons per judgment delivered have increased, it said.
The amendments move away from a fixed fee for all judgments, and now take into consideration the urgency, intricacies, and complexities of Employment Tribunal proceedings.
The Minister for Employment, the Steven Linares, said: “This shows that the Opposition is superficial and reactive.”
“Had they done their due diligence, they would have noted the BarCouncil’s [sic] feedback and the undeniable progress to date, evident from publicly available press releases and job adverts.”