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WORKER SUSPENDED AFTER NOT BEING PAID FOR FOUR MONTHS

posted 17 Apr 2019, 19:25 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 17 Apr 2019, 19:30 ]
barrybidaiseetrinidadhotels
Does Barry Bidaisee, bossman of Banquet and Conference Centre believe that workers should work for free?
Ronald Phillip is an employee of the Banquet and Conference Centre Ltd. This company is situated at the Cascadia Hotel in St. Ann’s, although its registered address is 22 Riguelt Street, Belmont, which is the home address of Barry Bidaisee, who is one of the three directors of the company. The other directors are Sheldon Bidaisee and Paul Gajar. Barry Bidaisee is the General Manager of Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre Ltd.

For the period January 2018 to March 2019 Ronald Phillip has only been paid on time on three occasions. He has not been paid on time on any occasion since July 2018. During July 2018 he was paid his salary in tranches and both of those payments were late.

The last salary he received was in January 2019 and this was for the month of November 2018. He has not been paid for December 2018, January 2019, February 2019 or March 2019.

Ronald attempted to give Managing Director Barry Bidaisee a letter on 17th January 2019 complaining about his non-payment of salary and indicating that this was presenting him with some practical problems in getting to work. Bidaisee refused to accept the letter.

On March 7th 2019, Ravi Ganesh, Food and Beverage Manager wrote to Ronald stating, among other things, that he “has been absent from work at critical times.'' He did not explain why it was critical for Ronald to be at work during the “critical times”, but it was not critical to pay him so that he could come to work.

The letter also invited him to give reasons why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for “gross misconduct”. Gross misconduct is an action that goes to the root of the contract, meaning it is an offence for which his contract of employment can be terminated. This from an employer who has failed to pay a worker his salary for the last four months! It is the Company that is in breach of contract; not Ronald!

The employer gives the worker “the opportunity to state why disciplinary action should not be taken against…” him. This is back to front industrial relations and exposes the incompetence of the employers’ representatives in industrial relations matters.

Inviting Mr. Phillip to say why no disciplinary action should be taken against him implies that a decision has already been taken that disciplinary action is warranted and the invitation given to Mr. Phillips is to present arguments for mitigation. Yet there has been no disciplinary hearing.

On March 25th 2019, Ganesh wrote another letter to Ronald, complaining that he had not responded to the letter of March 7th and accusing him of tardiness/absenteeism which are actually not the same thing. The letter also accused him of gross neglect of his duties and once again invited him to state why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.

These employers do not seem to accept that slavery ended in 1838 and in 2019 workers do not do voluntary work for employers. Once the employer fails to pay a worker his salary he has ceased paying for his labour power and the worker, therefore, has no labour power to exchange.

On March 27th 2019 a letter of suspension was issued to Ronald. It does not indicate whether it is an investigatory suspension or a disciplinary suspension. If it is an investigatory suspension what is being investigated needs to be stated. If it is a disciplinary suspension the presumption would be that it is without pay, which is no different from the current position that Mr. Phillip has been in for the last 4 months. The matter which is being handled by the National Workers Union is at the Ministry of Labour.

Those who believe it is an exaggeration to claim that the employers want to take us back to the days of slavery should ponder on the grievous exploitation that Ronald has been subjected to and think again. It is clear why working people, like Black Stalin, have to say Bun Dem!
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