Blackman tipped to head ERT
Former High Court judge Justice Christopher Blackman QC is pegged to be the new head of the Employment Rights Tribunal (ERT).
Though there was no official word of this from Minister of Labour Colin Jordan, Blackman has confirmed that he is to take up the post from this month to replace outgoing chairman Hal Gollop, QC.
Blackman said he intended to meet other members of the tribunal shortly to discuss the way forward.
Reliable sources also reported that Gollop had been asked to stay on and complete the partly heard matters, although it could not be ascertained how long this process was expected to last since there had long been complaints of cases backlogged.
Blackman will bring a wealth of expertise to the position, having served as chairman of the Caribbean Council of Legal Education from 1985 to 1992, chairman of the Police Service Commission from 1996 to 2001, as an Independent senator (1986 to 1990) in the Barbados Parliament and former deputy chairman of Barbados Shipping &Trading Company Limited.
The ERT was birthed out of the Employment Rights Act 2012 that was proclaimed in 2013, for the determination of issues relating to the new rights. The tribunal was given wide powers, subject to an appeal to the Court of Appeal, on questions of law, to determine complaints. Some of these powers include power to award compensation and power to order reinstatement or re-engagement of an unfairly dismissed employee.
But since its establishment, the ERT has hit several snags, including the resignation of eight of its nine members, led by chairperson Traece Codrington back in 2014, as well as complaints of backlogged cases.
Earlier this year, the then Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo blamed the procrastination of some employers for this delay, charging that these persons mistakenly believed that if they ignored the notices to appear before the tribunal to deal with the cases brought against them, that it would stop the process. (SDB Media)