Two trade unions in Barbados are questioning yesterday’s decision by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to substantially slash the compensation of a former senior Chefette employee who won his case for unfair dismissal and damages.
This afternoon outspoken Opposition legislator Senator Caswell Franklyn declared it a “disgusting” decision by an “anti-worker” court.
“I am disgusted by the CCJ. They have been against workers for a long time. Every case that comes before them that has anything to do with workers, they rule against them,” Franklyn told Barbados TODAY.
In April 2016, the Employment Rights Tribunal (ERT) determined that Orlando Harris had been unfairly dismissed by the leading fast food chain and awarded him more than $106,000, a figure which was cut to just over $95,000 on appeal by Chefette.
When the CCJ delivered the final verdict in this matter yesterday, it further reduced that compensation to a little more than $31,000 while at the same time removing what was included by the tribunal for future loss of wages.
Franklyn, who is General Secretary of the Unity Trade Union (UTU) referred to another CCJ judgment the case of Patrick Hill versus Sagicor Life Inc which was delivered in July 2018.
The Hill case was a Severance Payments Tribunal matter that was appealed all the way to the CCJ.
The Court of Appeal had allowed a challenge by Sagicor Life Inc from the Severance Payments Tribunal, having considered whether Hill was constructively dismissed and whether he was disentitled to a severance payment under the Act.
Court documents showed that when Hill applied to the Court of Appeal seeking leave to appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice the decision of 1st September 2017, a dispute arose as to whether or not the regional court had jurisdiction to hear the substantive appeal.
In resolving the dispute the CCJ ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to hear that challenge from a specially-constituted tribunal unless it was spelled out in the Act.
Franklyn contended today that the same reason given by the CCJ in that case should have been applied to the Chefette appeal as well.
“The CCJ should have said it made a mistake and overruled itself,” the legislator stated
Barbados TODAY also reached out to the General Secretaries of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Senator Toni Moore and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Delcia Burke.
While both of them said they had not read the judgment as yet and would have to do so before commenting, Burke however questioned the decision of the regional court to significantly cut the former Chefette employee’s award.
“I want to know why the cut it by so much,” the NUPW official queried.
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