Alexander, you are off target! Press secretary writes to head of Employers’ Federation

Alexander, you are off target! Press secretary writes to head of Employers’ Federation

Jadia Jn. Pierre-Emmanuel
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister
May 31, 2014

“Particularly with the liberal attitude which the Labour Code has taken. Basically with sick leave, anybody can call for two days without a doctor’s visit and you must pay them for the two days. They can do that for twelve days a year. So if employees decide to use this facility under the Labour Code that could lead to serious loss of hours and lack of productivity.” – Joseph Alexander, Executive Director, EMPLOYERS’ FEDERATION. Interview on Choice News Now (MAY 30, 2014, with a repeat on MAY 31, 2014)

Dear: Mr. Joseph Alexander,

I heard you yesterday and gave you the benefit of the doubt. “I heard the wrong thing”, I told myself, so I awaited the rebroadcast. Sir, the way you have represented the Labour Code in your interview is dishonest. I say dishonest, because I know that you know what you speak of is not as a consequence of legislation enacted to protect our workers.

I accept that chikungunya will impact the workplace and can cause the cost of operating a business to be high, due to absenteeism. This is a serious concern. I accept too, that there may be employees who will use this as an opportunity to abuse the allowance of two days sick leave without the need to produce a medical certificate (I think they are the minority). What I have difficulty with, is your statement that this issue is PARTICULARLY because of the “liberal attitude” of the Labour Code to sick leave.

Joseph Alexander

Sir, the Labour Code became law in August 2012. You know it has been common practice from time immemorial to allow two days of sick leave without documents from a doctor – the reasons I will not delve into. Why would you create the impression that this was introduced by the Labour Code? What the Labour Code did was legislate what was the acceptable practice from since when Jesus was baptised.

If you have a discomfort with this provision, just say so. If one of the reasons the Code remained in limbo for five years is because your organisation lobbied to reduce the required days from 2 to 0, just say so. However, it is dishonest to pin the issues of productivity/sick leave on the Labour Code.

The very same Labour Code that allows for 12 days sick leave a year without a medical certificate says, ” Where an employer reasonably believes that any purported sick leave, no matter how short, forms part of a course or pattern of absenteeism and is an abuse of sick leave provisions under this Code, he or she may require an employee to furnish him or her with a medical certificate.”

Is that a liberal attitude that facilitates delinquency?

Why didn’t you speak of the doctors who issue sick leave documents indiscriminately? Well, why would you – the Employers’ Federation cannot blame the private sector for anything. Why didn’t you appeal to the workers to be honest and respect and value their jobs, PARTICULARLY because people are losing theirs worldwide? Well, why would you? -that may be seen as a “threat or an attack” on the worker? Blame the Labour Code, so those who do not know better will believe you and/or blame the government!

You may think I am targeting you, but I am not. It just irks me when I hear the policies of the Labour Party are being used as scapegoats. If there is a problem of abuse it is not as a result of the Labour Code, because I am sure it did not start in 2012. It is about our work ethics. Blame the workers, blame the doctors, not the Labour Code! Besides, 95% of us work even when we are sick. Do not attack the Labour Code in the name of the 5% ( I am not referring to wage cuts, I speak of workers). Ask your members to apply the law. Ask for the certificate if you notice abuse or a trend and just fire them if you are right. There are thousands waiting to be employed.

I hope you understand where I am coming from. Please note that this is not connected to your recent flip flop on how the Government should deal with the high wage bill (pro retrenchment one week and anti wage cuts the next). I simply wanted to register my displeasure with the way the Labour Code was presented in your interview. We must be forthright in our discussions!

If Choice News Now misrepresented your comments, ask them to apologise.

Signed,
Jadia.   

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Well said Jadia, I admire your ability to root out the fact from fiction, the real from the fake...All your arguments are sound and bound to hurt the many who frequent this forum for airing their political views. Keep it up!!

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  2. I usually agree with Jadia but not this time. It is clear that the new Labour code is excessive to employers in many areas, not just absenteeism. And when combined with the well known reputation of having the Caribbean's most difficult trade unions, Helen will no longer attract any foreign investment. Moreover, good long-standing companies like Honeywell and Belle Fashion will continue to move elsewhere.

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  3. Give me a break. I can go to the doctor right now and get a week off because Im tired or have a headache. Many do just that because they know the union is there to protect them for any reason short of murder.

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  4. Joseph Alexander needed this EXACT response from Jadia. His intent (concerning the sick leave issue) was to deceive the public. He should be ashamed of himself.

    P.S. I care ZERO about your comments concerning Jadia's tact, blah blah blah on THIS issue

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  5. A lot has been said about the manner in which Jadia speaks. I for one am not surprised. Look at her comments on her Facebook page and you will understand why she behaves that way. Unfortunate thing is that no matter how many negative and constructive comments are posted in here nothing good will come out of it. Perhaps one should start a petition to pressure the government to address the immature nature in which the so call PM press secretary addressed matters of governance and the affairs of the people of St Lucia

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  6. While I do not disagree with her argument as postulated in defence of the labour code, I echo the sentiments of majority of the writers here in that there is a lack of tact exhibited in her delivery as has typically emerged in previous communications. She seems to be inept at making the distinction between representing the views of the PM, as opposed to her personal views. She needs to learn to take the emotion out of the matter at hand. Her deliveries are devoid of diplomacy and social maturity, attributes which should be inextricably linked with the title and office which she has been tasked with representing.

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  7. She is being paid to do nothing which contributes to economic development nor any kind of development for that matter... Then they want to take the little peanuts from public servants. If Kenny take 5% we have to overthrow this SLP government. That is a Joke... to many people are being paid to do nothing and just getting fat... I saw Mennisa recently when i visited the US at a meeting. She is HUGH!!

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  8. Jadia pls THINK before you write, you are to aggressive, Jadia did you actually read that CRAP before posting it???I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

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  9. That is what you get when you take persons with no sort of decorum to undertake such a task such as liaising with the community at large on behalf of the Government of Saint Lucia. One has to practice tact and restraint and gracefully correct any slanderous or incorrect statement made by anyone about the government of the day/party. It is very evident that Jadia was given this job not based on her ability to articulate herself in a sophisticated manner. Jadia you need some more experience in this field and now is not the time for on the job learning because you are making people who support the labour party more disgruntled with the party. If Dr Anthony knew what was good for his party, he would not have hired such a novice who lacks decorum!

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  10. Perhaps we are learning the truth for the first time. When Jaidia writes in her capacity as Jaidia she writes like a child. When someone elese writes and pass it on to Jaidia for distribution the press, you can tell that Jadia did not write that. LOL

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    • ...And you can start by using GRAMMAR properly before you see fit to condemned someone who does just what you did!!

      Two-faced blade!!

      As for the Jadia, she needs to have a little bit more decorum and be a bit more becoming.

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  11. This PS is so unprofessional that it's not funny anymore...really need some communication skills

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  12. Jadia Jn. Pierre! Though I am not shocked at the manner in which you write that further displays you immaturity, it comes as a further disgrace to the administration that you represent and the people of St.Lucia.

    You continue to prove that you are definitely unable to deal with situations in a professional manner; it may be that you are unable to express yourself professionally in writing so I will advise that you get some training in Business Communication, Professionalism and a host of Managerial courses. You continue to prove that you are no good example to the youth and it is shameful that your letter would be crafted in such a disrespectful manner. Then again that's the way you speak.

    I won't even attempt at analyse your response because your inexperience and mis-interpretation on matters of this nature and more is not worth one's time.

    But my advise to you is as above....

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  13. Where will Jaida Jn Pierre get off...stop acting like you know it all and you are it all.
    The SLP people are really sick and tired of you.
    If you want to redeem yourself please pay the hospital bill that the government paid for you.

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  14. ... The tone and grammar in this thing is atrocious! She writes like a 14 year old on Facebook trying to make a point, not a representative of the PM. Jadia Jn... I'm so over you, and your pah-tee. Go find some work to do!

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  15. The point being made is that now the employer must pay for these days where before this wasn't the case. That's the real issue. Take your time and read carefully.

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  16. You'll are a bunch of hypocrite stop blaming Jade and accept the facts that workers in this country take their jobs too damn for granted. You all are abusing you'll rights to sick leave.

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  17. "The very same Labour Code that allows for 12 days sick leave a year without a medical certificate"

    In any other country that would be taking the piss. That's one day a month you sick.

    Piss off Jadia.

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  18. Jadia! Your subject is a non Issue. Please comment on the latest IMF Report. Pleaseeeeeeee.

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  19. Keep quiet J.... Why you don't fine some real work to do!! The Law Code is LAW now but .....How many workers have seen any real protection?.....Your bosss wife collected the dough for cutting and pacing .......

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  20. LOOKS LIKE JADIA IS THE PRIME MINISTER NOW. WHAT IS BEING PAID FOR.LABOUR PARTY SPOKES PERSON OR PRESS SECRETARY. KENNY STOP THIS CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  21. I know one of the doctors who issue sick leave liberally and many St. lucians can concur. Maybe you have been a recipient of that leave along with tens of thousands of our hard earned taxes. Maybe if our money was not arbitrarily confiscated and given to you then we would not have an authoritarian styled verbal landfil (garbage)issue to deal with. I wonder if you took that "liberal sick leave the time when Caribbean News Now published the Richard Frederick article or when Rick Wayne published the piece on the Cruise Ship jobs. Others have a different opinion they say you guys were trying to figure out a way to respond to the Richard issue. Probably caught with pants (sorry panties) down? In the case of the Cruise jobs negotiations were feverishly being attended to behind the scenes, has it been resolved?

    So you see you can trick some people some of the time. But you cannot trick all the people all the time. Do Whats Right. Besides Peter is one of you all now. Cut him some slack or is this just the rebranded propaganda tool of "ask and answer your own question?" I notice that your party now uses this repressive tactic such as when the PM mentioned that somebody asked about putting VAT on electricity. Who is that someone Jadia? Is it your own question aimed at testing the peoples restraint? But the absurdity lies in the answer which the PM replied emphatically 'I will not.' Knowing full well that he increased the tax to be collected from Lucelec on fuel which would be passed on to the people. A cost mind you which may be higher than VAT. Good going Jadia fool them more often but we both know the consequences.

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  22. This press secretary is way to aggressive in the way she crafts her releases. Who is vetting these?

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    • These are my exact thoughts. I think she sounds/acts like a yard fowl and with her attitude she cannot be effective anymore.