Thursday, December 14, 2017

NP matter to resume Tuesday

The Industrial Court hearing in the matter between the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) and the National Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd (NP) regarding 68 workers who were fired after an “illegal work stoppage” will resume next Tuesday at 1.30 p.m.

The matter was adjourned yesterday on the request of the union’s legal team which, being new to the case, requested more time to prepare and review evidence submissions that had been recently submitted by NP, and also to allow lead counsel Douglas Mendes, SC, to attend the hearing.

Mendes, who is out of the country and scheduled to return on Monday, leads a team including attorneys Michael Quamina, Anthony Bullock and Imran Ali. They will take over the union’s case, which had previously been led by senior union member Teddy Stapleton. Seenath Jairam, SC, is representing NP, along with attorneys Derek Ali and Courtney McNish.

The matter was called yesterday morning before a panel of judges headed by president of the Industrial Court Deborah Thomas-Felix.

The workers were fired by NP for allegedly engaging in an “illegal work stoppage” last August. The 68 workers were part of the initial 86 the company had suspended after the stoppage.

NP said last October it held indivi­dual disciplinary hearings and the employees had been asked to address what it described as refusal to perform job functions, participation along with others in the illegal work stoppage and unauthorised absence from work stations.

The workers went on strike, supported by the union, from August 13 to 15, after complaining of Occupational Health and Safety Act violations, as well as alleged corruption and outsourcing to private contractors when workers were capable of doing the jobs.