A new ten-member Employment Rights Tribunal is slated to begin hearings at the end of next month, chairman Christopher Blackman QC said.
And the former High Court judge has signalled that his team is already on the job of moving to ease a rising backlog of cases.
Blackman and nine other tribunal members were officially sworn in by Governor General Dame Sandra Mason at Government House today.
Following the ceremony, he told Barbados TODAY: “The tribunal has in fact been working . . . having case management conferences with the registrar where we have identified a number of cases for full hearings.
“And three or four hearings have been set for late April. The details of that will be published shortly before the matters are heard.”
The tribunal, which was established from the Employment Rights Act which was proclaimed in April 2013, adjudicates on employer-employee disputes.
It has been empowered to award compensation and order the reinstatement of an employee that it deems was unfairly treated.
Blackman added that the tribunal is focussed on disposing matters in a timely fashion.
He said: “We have started with a lot of the old cases in 2014/2015 and now we have picked up a couple of those that have been filed in 2017 and 2018 so that the new cases don’t become back log cases .
“There are some cases that were filed within the last 15 months, that will be heard before those in 2015/2016. So we are going to try to move in at either end, so that at some point everything will be disposed of.”
It is unclear how many cases are awaiting hearing.
The new tribunal includes president of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons, Ed Bushell, who is an industrial relations advisor: former magistrate Emmerson Graham QC; retired trade unionist Ulric Sealy; and former Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office John Williams.