Labour Tribunals vested with magisterial powers

The Judicial Services Commission through a Gazette dated 13 July 2018 has appointed Presidents of Labour Tribunals as additional magistrates for the limited purpose of implementing labour Ordinances, Acts and all decisions, certificates, awards, orders and judgments made under such Acts and Ordinances in addition to their other duties as per Judicial Service Commission Circular No.419 with effect from 23  July, 2018 until further notice.

This enables Labour Tribunals to function as the court of jurisdiction for the recovery of Employees Provident Fund, Employees Trust Fund, Gratuity and wages that are in default. Such cases are now filed before the Labour Tribunal by the department of labour against employers who are in default. This also provides room for the prosecution of offences under the Industrial Disputes Act to be pursued before the Labour Tribunal.

It is learnt that speeding up the conclusion of the large volume of the backlog of labour prosecutions is the aim behind the new move. However many practical issues exist in the ability of the Labour Tribunals to live up to the expectation, given its current capacities and infrastructure.

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