MATTERS RAISED AT ADJOURNMENT TIME ON FRIDAY 12 AUGUST 2016 AT 8.39 p.m.
MAURITIUS SHIPPING CORPORATION LTD -WORKFORCE
Mr Osman Mahomed (Third Member for Port Louis South & Port Louis Central): Madam Speaker, I would like to raise an issue that has to do with a notification from the part of the Mauritius Shipping Corporation Ltd to reduce its workforce at its passenger terminal as per Section 16 of the Act from 16 persons to zero.
Madam Speaker: Order, please! Order!
Mr Mahomed: Now, people have come to me today with a letter dated 04 of August 2016 from the Ag. Manager of the Corporation addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations, Employment and Training with copy to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands, I believe this is the parent Ministry of the MSCL. The letter is a formal notification of reduction of workforce under section 39(b) of the Employment Relations Act. Only yesterday you will recall how heated the debate was concerning a figure of 60 jobs that were created in the seafood sector. The hon. Minister Koonjoo vehemently contested these figures which, according to him, were low figures! Now, the list of 16 persons who are now on the brink of losing their jobs have their names and dates of entry attached with this letter which I am going to table just now.
The list comprises of four terminal attendants, five security guards, one gatekeeper and six luggage porters who were employed on permanent and pensionable basis as from March 2008. The people are bewildered. They have expressed their strong perception to me of the belief that because of the year, that is, 2008, when they were employed the Labour Party was in power. They feel that they are being victimised because of that - association with the Labour Party.
The MSCL is in the papers today. It must be said that, at one point in time, Mr Kailash Trilochun chaired a meeting to discuss the restructuring of the MSCL. From the letter we also learnt that, as per the Mauritius Ports Authority Master Plan, there will be a new passenger terminal and thus the MPA has recently decided to take over the operations of the passenger terminal from the MSCL with effect from end of April 2016.
On hearing the Deputy Prime Minister, hon. Duval, today mentioning that the shipping sector is booming; he said that we have reached an all-time high figure of 2900 ships. At the same time, he further stated we are enjoying happier labour relations in the port. So this prompts me to rise and make a humble plea to the hon. Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations, Employment and Training not to, therefore, give his green light to the said notification of reduction of workforce at the level of the MSCL, the more so on a humanitarian ground.
I am tabling a copy of the letter and I thank the hon. Minister for his positive consideration.
The Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations, Employment and Training (Mr S. Callichurn): Madam Speaker, I have been made aware of this situation just now so I shall come with a statement to the House on Tuesday. Let me take full stock of the facts first.