PRESIDENT of the National Workers Union (NWU) Dave Smith is calling for the immediate reinstatement of 25 workers who were dismissed by their employer, Cadel Trading, on Wednesday after complaining about long hours of work. Hours after they were dismissed, the union said, advertisements went up for the positions they held. The company is based at the Trincity Industrial Estate.
Smith is demanding that the workers return without loss of pay and said the union would report this matter to the Industrial Court. NWU said the dismissed workers, including 20 warehouse attendants and five drivers who were remunerated just above the minimum wage, were locked out on Tuesday, the day after they complained about the hours of work.
Smith explained their normal hours of work were 8 am to 5 pm, but they had been working extended hours since November. On Monday, the workers informed their supervisor they wanted to leave work at the stipulated time their shift ended and were reportedly told they could do what they wanted.
When they reported for duty on March 6, the security at the gate had a list of the names of workers who were not authorised to take up duty. The 25, whose names were on the list, were prevented from entering. By letter dated March 7 and signed by operations manager Arund Ramlal, the workers were told they had been dismissed.
On that same day Cadel Trading advertised for warehouse attendants and drivers. The CEO of the company is Sean Hadeed. Smith, in a letter to the human resources department, said the action of the company is contrary to good industrial relations practice as there was no explanation for the lockout and dismissal.
“If our information is correct,” Smith wrote, “this will be an industrial relations offence under the Industrial Relations Act (IRA).” He requested the immediate return of the workers without loss of pay and an explanation of what is behind the lockout. “We will be reporting this matter to the Industrial Court unless we can receive a confirmation that the workers have been allowed to return to work immediately without loss of pay,” Smith wrote.
Cadel Trading is the warehouse arm of Cadel Trading and Knights Investment Ltd. It owns and runs the Francis Fashion Shoe Locker chain of retail stores, which has over 30 branches nationwide.