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Business News of Friday, 9 October 2020

Source: Class FM

GCNet strike forces Registrar-General's Department to shut down

The management of the Registrar-General’s Department has announced a temporary shutdown of its systems following a strike action by staff of its service provider, GCNet.

A public notice by the management indicated that the Registrar-General is, therefore, “unable to render services” to clients for the time being.

The management of the Registrar-General’s Department, however, noted that it “is working around the clock to get this resolved.”

It further assured that the general public and its clients will “be informed when our services resume accordingly.”

The management has also apologised “for any inconvenience caused.”

Support services staff of GCNet, which include some redundant staff of the company, embarked on a strike over the payment of their redundancy packages.

A letter by the GCNet Staff Welfare Association stated that “the resumption of the industrial action to withdraw all support services with immediate effect, after an earlier suspension, is due to a deadlock in discussions at the NLC on Friday, 2 October 2020.

“SGS/GCNet communicated that it will not respect the Arbitration Award and had resolved to challenge the Arbitration Award at the Courts.”

It continued: “After the September 4, 2020, Arbitration Award, GCNet Executive Management/ SGS in its continued demonstration of acting in bad faith, refused to respect the Award of the Arbitration Panel and approached the National Labour Commission (NLC) to review the Arbitration Award.

“The NLC, in a letter dated September 25, 2020, dismissed the request for review citing Section 158 (1) of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651), which provides that: ‘The decision of the Arbitrator or majority of the Arbitrators shall constitute the Award and shall be binding on all parties.”’

The letter further said: “The arrowhead letter also firmly reminded the Austin Gamey, SGS & GCNet that section 58 of the ADR Act 2010 (Act 798) clearly spells out the grounds and procedure for setting aside an Arbitration Award.

“On June 30, 2020, Executive Management refused to respect the terms of disengagement which culminated in a series of discussions between Welfare Association representing staff and Executive Management representing SGS/ GCNet.

“Following a deadlock in discussions, the matter was jointly referred to the National Labour Commission (NLC) on August 11, 2020, by parties involved which ended in Arbitration for resolution.”

Also, “an Arbitration Panel was jointly selected by the parties and the NLC. The parties selected one arbitrator each from the list of arbitrators and the NLC selected a Chairman to constitute the three-member panel."

It added: “On September 4, 2020, the NLC appointed Arbitration Panel ruled in favour of affected staff upholding HRPM Article 1901(f) of the GCNet HR Policy Manual to be respected without any variation or adjustment and also ordered that the effective date of redundancy was August 31, 2020, which should be regarded as the last day of employment for each employee, with clear instruction to pay August salaries to affected staff.”

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