Public Report on delay within the Labour Department - May 16, 2000 -  Emalus Campus

Public Report on delay within the Labour Department - May 16, 2000


Mr. A worked for Mr. B in 1994 building a water tank.   A dispute arose about Mr. A’s remuneration.  Mr. A, in accordance with the provisions of the Trade Disputes Act lodged a complaint with the District Labour Office around June 15, 1995.   The Trade Disputes Act provides that a Labour Officer shall, in cases where there is a reasonable prospect of success, attempt to promote a settlement of the dispute.  

The Assistant District Labour Officer attempted to schedule several meetings to conciliate the dispute.  However because of distance and other constraints relating to communication, none of these meetings took place.  Mr. A later went to see the Commissioner of Labour and in 1996 the Commissioner of Labour instructed the Assistant District Labour Officer to settle the case quickly.   However, no further steps were taken on behalf of Mr. A.

In March 1998, Mr. A complained to the Ombudsman’s Office about the delay in dealing with his complaint to the Labour Office.  After communications with the Ombudsman’s Office, a senior Labour Officer took charge of the matter and apologized for the delay in dealing with Mr. A’s complaint.

The Ombudsman found that the delay in dealing with Mr. A’s complaint was unjustified.  He further found that the administrative practices employed by the Labour Department in resolving disputes was defective.

·       That the Commissioner of Labur Ephraim Mathias review the case with a view to recommending training for or disciplinary action against the District Labour Officer who initially had conduct of the matter.

·       That the Commissioner of Labour together with the Director General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs institute a form of case management or other monitoring system within the Labour Department to ensure that individual cases don’t “fall through the cracks.”


Written by Edward R. Hill
UNDP Governance and Accountability Project
January, 2001
© Ombudsman of Vanuatu
Published here by University of the South Pacific, School of Law Web Site -

Disclaimer & Copyright | Contact Us
© Copyright 2004 - 2018 The University of the South Pacific (USP). All rights reserved.