St.Kitts – Investigations continue into labour breeches on work sites
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – THE Department of Labour is still carrying out investigations into undocumented workers employed on jobsites in St. Kitts and Nevis.
This is according to Minister of Labour the Hon. Vance Amory who told media representatives at the recently concluded two-day CSME Workshop at the Ocean Terrace Inn that the Department of Labour is making progress in that area. “We want people who come to the country to be properly documented,” he stressed. Amory declared that they are working to ensure persons entering the Federation for the purpose of work must have the right documentation, including a CARICOM Skilled Certificate or are the holders of work permits.
“If they have the right to work they must have the Skilled Certificate and, outside of that, we want to ensure that when they come in for work that the conditions they work under are safe.” The Minister disclosed that the investigations revealed that a number of undocumented workers have been made to work under poor conditions and for less than the minimum wage. Shortly after taking office in 2015, the Government had sought to clamp down on undocumented individuals overstaying and working in the Federation.
The Government of National Unity had pinpointed construction sites in St. Kitts and also on Nevis, additionally targeting tourism hotspots such as Port Zante, which they claim hire many undocumented workers.
Prime Minister and Minister with Responsibility for National Security, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris had instituted a period of Amnesty, which SKNVibes understands saw over 1,000 persons utilizing that opportunity to regularize their status in the country.
A similar exercise had started under the former Labour Administration before they demitted office.
Minister Amory noted that he is happy with the investigations because the Ministry had received a number of complaints from workers that they are not being treated properly on job sites.
“Our efforts in the Ministry of Labour are to go out and take an upfront approach and a positive approach to eliminate the tension in the workforce,” he added.
The Minister did not provide a date for the completion of the investigation.
Asked what penalties would be instituted on business owners found guilty of hiring undocumented workers, Minister Amory referred this publication to the Laws of the land, which spoke for themselves.
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