Former employees of aggregates company achieve success in ‘wrongful termination’ case

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A handful of residents, formerly employed by Antigua Masonry Products, have been successful in getting redress in a case brought against their former employers in the Industrial Court.

The small group, who served as security personnel at the company, claimed they were wrongfully dismissed nearly seven years ago and brought the matter to the court in a bid to get what they believed they were rightfully owed.

In March this year, the Industrial Court ruled in the workers’ favour, but their former employers decided to appeal the ruling, to the annoyance of the workers and the body representing them – the Antigua and Barbuda Free Trade Union (ABFTU).

This caused the workers to demonstrate outside the company’s headquarters and blast their former employers for using resources to challenge the Industrial Court judgement that could otherwise have gone towards settling what they’re owed.

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Free Trade Union (ABFTU) Samuel James confirmed the news yesterday.

“The company would have fully satisfied the judgement made in favour of the employees. So, for all intents and purposes, that matter is fully and finally settled for those five employees.

“We wish to thank the public for words of encouragement, solidarity and support that they would have given to us and the employees in that fight for justice,” James said.

Now, to the delight of both the workers and the union, the company’s attempt to appeal was not successful, as James revealed to Observer. 

“Yes, they did file a notice of appeal but pretty much the Court of Appeal was of the same view as we would have expressed publicly.

“The Court of Appeal pretty much said that the company came late to try and appeal the matter. The reasons put forward as to why they were late were – and we are using our words – empty and basically baseless.

“Also, we understand the court, based on the reference it made to other judgements, to also be saying the company had no good prospect of success. The Court of Appeal pretty much declared that the application and the notice of appeal filed by the employer were deemed to be a nullity which now brought the matter back to the Industrial Court under a contempt of court proceedings,” James explained.

The union president also urged workers “across the country to use this recent success as inspiration to go after what they believe is right, and not be deterred by anyone who attempts to derail their efforts”.

“From our feedback with the employees, they are all very happy that the matter has come to a conclusion. They deserve their money and I am just appealing to other employees that sometimes the fight on the road to justice is long and hard and expensive, but if you stick to the task justice will come.

“So, all employees, whenever you think you are being wronged, you should seek justice,” James added.

A spokesperson for Antigua Masonry Products had previously confirmed the intention to appeal the Industrial Court judgment, but declined to comment on the matter any further.

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