ALL 16 contract workers at the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation have been re-hired and will take up their jobs again on April 12.
Ten of the 16 had threatened legal action, demanding the council revoke a decision to terminate them and not to approve funding for their employment.
A decision was taken on Wednesday at a five-hour emergency meeting of the council to re-hire the 16, since the original position which led to their dismissals was deemed illegal.
Newsday understands chairman Anil Juteram took the position not to back the “illegal” vote of six councillors and aldermen which led to the termination of the workers on April 1.
Newsday was told the chairman agreed to take the advice of the corporation’s corporate secretary, who had advised against even raising the motion, since the contracts were already approved and the workers had been notified of their employment.
She also advised the decision was illegal because no proper legal reason had been given for the rescission.
Juteram reportedly said he could not condone any illegal decision at the corporation.
Efforts to reach Juteram since Wednesday have been unsuccessful, as all calls are going to voice-mail.
On Thursday, the corporate secretary wrote to the ten workers’ attorney David-Mark Kidney, telling him contracts will be made available for his clients to sign on April 12, when they will also begin work.
The ten were also asking for the council to treat them as having been employed on April 1 and to be remunerated accordingly.
With the council capitulating, the ten will no longer pursue their intended judicial review claim. However, a defamation claim against one of the councillors will still make its way to the court, as they have received no response to their pre-action protocol letter.
They have accused the chairman of the corporation’s personnel committee, councillor for Sangre Grande North West Nassar Hosein, of defamation and have threatened to take legal action if he does not remove alleged defamatory posts from Facebook and apologise to them on Facebook for a duration of 14 days.
They also want a declaration from him that his statements were defamatory and false.
In the pre-action letter for defamation, Kidney said he considered the statements “a malicious attack on my clients in an endeavour to sabotage and/or muddy their personal and/or professional credit and to disparage them in their respective professions.
“Further, you have attempted to maliciously attack my clients by chaining their interests to politics and not ascribing to them their fair recognition in relation to their qualifications and experience.”
On March 31, less than two weeks after it approved financing for their employment, the council passed a motion to rescind the resolution to hire the ten.
The reasons given were that the council needed to be satisfied of the individuals’ performance; the positions they held were advertised only on Facebook for three days; and that a councillor “knew a person with (exam grades) twos and threes who did not receive a telephone call for an interview.”
The ten – Stacy Ramroop, REL Kasmally, Shawn Samlal, Naseema Ali, Dimitri Bidaisee, Abigail Walcott, Onika Davis-Sambury, Elliot Collins, Aryanna Babb and Ralph Paul – have had their contracts with the corporation renewed continuously until March 31. After being shortlisted and interviewed, they were told to resume work on April 1, under new contracts.
They have various qualifications ranging from an MBA and BScs in various disciplines to CXC passes and work experience.
A pre-action protocol letter relating to the terminations on Monday said several UNC loyalists refused to give approval for rehiring the contract workers on merit, experience, qualifications and performance.