You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist
The Conciliation, Advisory and Advocacy Division (CAAD) is committed to maintaining industrial peace in Trinidad and Tobago. The CAAD provides a suite of services to stakeholders which includes, but is not limited to, customised training and outreaches aimed at addressing organisations’ specific needs. Sessions are conducted both face to face and/or online. Outreaches entail conducting workshops and seminars on Industrial Relations issues for unions, employers, non-governmental organizations, senior public officers and small and micro enterprises.
The thrust of the CAAD has always been preventative conciliation which is voluntary. The Division assists in the prevention of disagreements and complaints which areusually matters that can be resolved amicably without actually becoming a statistic of a reported dispute. The CAAD also intervenes, upon request, when there are breakdowns in work relationships between employees and supervisors. Organisations view their workers as assets and the workers value their jobs but when there are impasses, the CAAD then applies mediation skills and try to break deadlocks with suitable approaches.
Director of Labour Administration Disputes
Trade unions, employees and employers who do not wish to have conciliation under the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) may and do report disputes to the Director of Labour Administration outside the provisions of the IRA; and informal conciliation is performed by Labour Relations Officers. The settlements arrived at are drawn up in the form of Memoranda of Agreements signed by both parties and witnessed by the individual officer. The Agreements are voluntary in nature and do not have the binding power as those registered at the Industrial Court which are in effect an order or award of the court, but nonetheless, they are fully honoured by the parties.
Walk-in /Online Clients (Workers)
CAAD treats with individual workers who are not members of trade unions and who seek advice either before they make a decision to leave the job or after they resign or take some action which would have negatively impacted the employer/employee relationship.
Its role is to assist the client whether it is a worker hoping to get his/her job back or to finalise the relationship, if returning to work is not an option. Using moral suasion, Conciliation Officers interact with employers on different levels based on the issue. If a mutual agreement is not possible between the worker and the employer then there is a quick withdrawal by the Conciliation Officer from the matter and the worker is advised to seek union representation. (The Officer is not an advocate for the worker nor the employer and cannot take sides.)
Walk-in /Online Clients (Employers)
CAAD also assists employers who need advice on good industrial relations practice before taking the step to terminate or just need to know that they are taking the right steps to be in compliance with existing labour laws.
The CAAD has continued to expand its services by offering mediation to its stakeholders based on requests from either the worker or the employer to treat with interpersonal conflict between staff and supervisors/managers and individual workers. Many organisations have recently benefited from the expertise of our trained and experienced civil mediators, namely Bridget Ignatius and Elton Doyle. The mediation sessions which were conducted from January to June 2022, assisted both management and employees in improving interpersonal issues in the workplace.
There is no shortage of duties in the CAAD which is matched with an equal drive and commitment by staff to meet these requirements. The CAAD continues to work tirelessly for the people of Trinidad and Tobago, national or non-national, to ensure that labour conflict is managed and key provisions of the Industrial Relations Act, Chapter 88:01 (IRA) are carried out.
For More Information
Persons wishing to access additional information, can contact the Conciliation, Advisory and Advocacy Division:
- Levels 5 & 6, Duke Place, 50-54 Duke Street, Port of Spain
- Telephone: 299-0300 ext. 2043
Visit our website for a listing of office locations and telephone numbers and access additional resources: