The Point (Banjul)

4 February 2013

Gambia: Capital Gas Faces Second Claim

Kemeseng Sanneh and twenty-seven other former employees of Capital Gas sued their former employer at the Kanifing Industrial Tribunal for wrongful dismissal.

According to the particulars of claim, the plaintiffs were at all material time working for the defendant.

The plaintiffs claimed they enrolled into the Workers' Union and established a workers' committee.

They stated in their claim that they started to complain and made known their grievances to the defendant on contract of employment, social security contributions, overtime payment, annual leave, salary reductions, public holiday claims, industrial accidents and protective gears. But there were no remedial actions taken to address these issues.

The plaintiffs further claimed they reported their grievances to the appropriate authorities, such as Labour Department and the SSHFC.

They claimed the appropriate authorities intervened to resolve the said grievances.

The plaintiffs said in their claim that the social security officials went to the defendant and registered most of the employees.

The Labour Department, according to the plaintiffs, convened a tripartite meeting twice second one.

The plaintiffs claimed that at the second meeting held at the Labour Department, the secretary of the Workers' Union Committee, Kemeseng Sanneh and Seedia Sonko were terminated and given their termination letters.

Mr Sanneh and his colleagues further claimed that on 3 September 2012, the defendant called Seedia Sonko to sign a warning letter for not starting a machine made by him, as he was instructed by his supervisor to make the machine but not to start it.

The plaintiffs stated that Seedia Sonko refused to sign the warning letter as he was not responsible, due to the instruction by his supervisor.

Sanneh and his team claimed the defendant ordered the security to throw Seedia out of the company premises.

The plaintiffs further claimed that the president and the secretary of the Workers' Union approached the defendant for amicable settlement but were sent out of the office by the defendant.

They claimed the defendant said the reason for sending out the president and the secretary of the Workers' Union Committee was because the matter did not concern them. He therefore terminated the services of the president/secretary, Dodou Jaiteh, Kemeseng Sanneh and Seedia Sonko on 4 September 2012.

The plaintiffs indicated that the defendant finally dismissed sixty-two employees for claiming their rights on terms and conditions of employment.

Sanneh and his colleagues claimed they requested for a written reason of their termination but were told by the defendant they were advised not to issue them with a termination letter.

They claimed further that they referred the matter to the Labour Department, which convened a tripartite meeting to resolve the matter amicably but to no avail.

Sanneh and his team stated that at the meeting, the defendant had nothing to say but to threaten the workers' representative, Ebrima Garba Cham, that he disturbed the defendant and employers, and they were finding someone to clear him.

The plaintiffs indicated that the meeting was then adjourned till another day as Mr Cham was not happy with the defendant's statement and promised to inform his family, workers, sympathizers and the authorities about the threat.

The case continues.

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