The law provides for the rights of workers to form and join unions of their choice, bargain collectively, and conduct legal strikes, and such strikes occurred during the year. The government enforces and recognizes the right to collective bargaining and to association in the private sector.
The law prohibits antiunion discrimination and dismissal for engaging in union activities. Although it does not require reinstatement of workers fired for union activity, a court may order reinstatement.
The law does not require employers to recognize a particular union as an exclusive bargaining agent. The law provides that if both parties consent to arbitration, the minister of labor can appoint an arbitration committee to hear the matter. The law provides for establishment of an arbitration tribunal and a board of inquiry in connection with trade disputes and allows provision for the settlement of such disputes. The tribunal was not operational during the year.
Authorities formed arbitration panels, which included tripartite representation from government, businesses, and unions, on an ad hoc basis when labor disputes occurred.
Workers providing services deemed essential (defined as electricity, water, hospital, and police) are prohibited from striking unless they provide at least a 14-day notice to the authorities. Some of the sectors defined as strategic exceeded the International Labor Organization’s standard for essential services.
The government generally enforced labor laws effectively. Government penalties of up to 5,000 Eastern Caribbean Dollars (XCD) ($1,850) generally were sufficient to deter violations.
Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining were generally respected.