An amount of Rs 71 million was recovered for the period January to October 2013 by the Labour and Industrial Relations Division in Mauritius in favor of employees, including migrant workers.

Of this amount, Rs 19 million were granted to workers through legal actions in industrial court, Rs 46 million through the enforcement branch and Rs 5 million through the Special Migrant Unit.

In 2012, this division registered 11,400 complaints of which approximately a thousand were outstanding on January 1, 2013.

From January to October 2013, the division had registered 10,062 cases of which approximately 223 were outstanding at the end of the 10 month period.

As many as 314 disagreements were declared in the industrial court which allowed recoveries of approximately Rs 17 million for the benefit of upset employees, while 200 cases were heard in Chamber, with Rs 2 million being recovered.

Altogether, Rs 200,000 worth of fines were paid by employers on 61 penal counts. Further, Rs 131 million were spent in 2013 on the payment of Transitional Unemployment Benefits while 2,651 workers benefited from Workfare Programme.

In 2013, inspections were done in 1,900 companies employing Mauritians and in 622 companies employing foreigners. Through these regular inspections, the inspectors must make sure that the laws which govern the payment of remuneration and working conditions are followed.

The inspectors explained to workers that these visits are to ensure that the aspects about working conditions – the salary, vacation, payment of end of year bonuses, and wage increases – are respected. Also, to preserve workers’ anonymity, the inspectors clarified to the workers that their companies might not be notifiedof the inspections.

They also convinced all employees that privacy would be maintained at all costs and that those workers who send anonymous letters to complain about a matter are not neglected.

In case of non-compliance with labour laws, recommendations are given to the employer together with a deadline to comply with the laws and legal actions are taken in cases of failure to comply.

The ministry can decide to go on with civil cases in the name of the workers claiming what is due to them, or to enter an action under the penal code against employers who infringe someone’s right.

Besides, the ministry is eying the setting up of a professional information counter within its premises to centralize services and provide sufficient information.

The Labour and Industrial Relations Division also welcomed a new director with 44 years of experience in the public sector, Edley Armoogum, on December 30, 2013, as the successor of Moonsamy Ramasamy.

Edley Armoogum has worked in diverse sections of the division of Labour and Industrial Relations and intends to revitalize the services of this ministry’s division, reinforce the inspection of working sites, build up educational program and sensitize both the employees and the employers on labour laws.

Caption: Through legal actions in industrial court, Rs 19 million were granted to workers in 2013, of which Rs 46 million were given through the enforcement branch and Rs 5 million through the Special Migrant Unit. (Image: Commonwealth Governance)

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