CADEL Trading Limited, which oversees the Francis Fashions/Shoelocker chain of stores, has responded to claims of unfair treatment by the National Workers Union (NWU), which is representing 22 workers who were terminated last week by the company.
In an emailed release yesterday, Cadel said that a memorandum dated January 2, outlined requirements of the workers to perform an extra hour of work from Monday to Thursday weekly, to tackle a backlog of containers received by the company. Cadel said the workers signed acknowledging receipt of the said memorandum and having read same.
Cadel said that last week Monday, the workers refused to work the extra hour and advised that they are contracted to work until 5 pm. In this regard, the company advised workers that it was clearly stated at the time of employment that they will be required to work extra hours to facilitate the receiving and unloading of containers. This, Cadel said, was agreed to by each worker.
Cadel said it informed the workers that their refusal was in breach of their contract of employment and could result in disciplinary action. The workers ignored this caution and left the workplace.
The following morning, workers gathered on the roadway and pavement outside of the company’s compound. Management invited them in to report to work and to have a meeting. The workers refused, telling managers if there is to be a meeting, it would have to be on the roadside. Cadel said that its managers again invited workers in but they refused.
The workers remained on the pavement and on the road, for the entire day and refused to report for work. On Wednesday, workers for the third day in a row, gathered on the roadway and pavement outside the company’s compound.
Again, they refused to enter the compound, refused to report for work and refused to meet with management. When the rain fell that day, the workers hustled into the compound to seek shelter but when the rain stopped, they went back out to the pavement.
Management carefully considered the actions of the 22 workers from Monday to Wednesday last and came to the view that they had by their actions breached the contract of employment and in so doing had caused damage to the company, Cadel said.
“Cadel Trading/Francis Fashions/Shoelocker has always been and continues to be a responsible corporate citizen.
Numerous opportunities were provided to these workers to report to work and discuss their concerns, all of which were rejected. In the circumstances, the Company was left with little option but to terminate their employment for breach of the employment contract,” the release stated. Efforts to reach NWU’s president Dave Smith for a comment to the Cadel statement proved futile.