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Yes, the PSA can and does represent contract workers! Any worker as defined in the Industrial Relations Act, including contract workers has the right to take up grievances with the employer as a trade dispute. He/she can, only through a union, take the matter to the Industrial Court. So, it is in the interest of all contract workers that they join a union and the best union to join is the PSA.

The PSA believes that all work that is continuous in nature should be permanent work and short term contracts should not be used to fill such positions. Contract workers do not have the security of tenure and therefore oftentimes cannot secure residential mortgages and other benefits as a permanent worker. Contract workers do not belong to a pension plan but are paid a gratuity at the end of the contract in lieu of such pension.

An employer may have a genuine need for short term workers such as staff to work during the Carnival season and therefore it may be more practical to use a fixed-term contract for these short term periods of work. However, it is often found that fixed-term contracts can lead to abuse by using a succession of short fixed-term contracts. This is so because at common law at the end of the defined term the contract would terminate automatically and thereby the protection of the employee in terms of, for example, redundancy and unfair dismissal would be negated and the employers avoid incurring the responsibilities which they would have to a permanent employee.

It is neither fair, nor just and it is certainly not in the interest of the worker who is the person immediately concerned or the community as a whole, or in accord with equity, good conscience and the principles and practices of good industrial relations for an employer to deprive a worker of the protection of the law by the unjust device of successive renewal of a fixed-term contract over a period of years and then at its whim decide against renewal and leave the worker without redress because there would have been no dismissal.

The PSA has made it a priority to defend all contract workers and has embarked on a campaign to ensure that all contract workers who perform continuous work be made permanent. You can help us in this campaign if you are a contract worker by joining the PSA.