The tables have been turned on the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) with one of its former employees accusing the BWU of wrongful dismissal.
Former groundsman Christopher Jordan has retained the services of general secretary of the fledgling Unity Workers Union (UWU), Caswell Franklyn, to present his case before Chief Labour Officer Vincent Burnett and if needs be, before the Employment Rights Tribunal.
In correspondence dated July 21, 2014 addressed to Burnett, Franklyn noted that Jordan was continuously employed by the BWU for eight years and by letter dated July 3, 2014, his services were terminated with immediate effect.
Franklyn went on to explain that Jordan’s termination followed a meeting which took place on July 2, where Gillian Alleyne, the officer who complained about Jordan, formed part of the panel to hear the complaint.
The general secretary of the UWU pointed out that in the termination letter Jordan was advised of his right to appeal against the decision, but charged that even though Jordan accepted the offer of appeal by letter dated July 8 to his employer, they never acknowledged the receipt of the correspondence.
In response, Franklyn has advised Jordan that the circumstances surrounding his dismissal would have breached the provisions of the Employment Rights Act and has referred the matter to Burnett under Section 42 of the legislation.
Meanwhile, in a letter dated July 8, 2014, addressed to the General Secretary of the BWU, Sir Roy Trotman, Jordan claimed that the allegations made against him were untrue and even if they were not, they were insufficient to merit his dismissal.
In addition, Jordan claimed that the hearing was unfair because one of the persons who adjudicated the matter was also the complainant.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY, Jordan also contended that he was wrongfully dismissed after he failed to attend a meeting scheduled by personnel manager Gillian Alleyne because of health challenges.
He expressed concern that a member of the Royal Barbados Police Force was summoned to be present at the disciplinary meeting and again when he was working at another BWU property opposite the union headquarters.
Indicating his willingness to act on Jordan’s behalf, Franklyn said the complainant’s presence on the panel hearing the case was a breach of natural justice and stressed that “she should not even be in the room”.
Expressing concern at the action taken by the BWU, Franklyn said: “They terminated Jordan, gave him the right to appeal and then when he appealed they ignored it. Part of the process to address the matter involves informing the Chief Labour Officer because what the Chief Labour Officer is required to do according to the law is to try to get the parties to reach an agreement.
“Failing that, the Chief Labour Officer must refer it to the Employment Rights Tribunal. I got a call from the Labour Department indicating they will contact the BWU for a meeting on the matter,” Franklyn said.
Neither the General Secretary of the BWU Sir Roy Trotman nor his deputy could be reached for a comment on the matter.