NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A Supreme Court judge has ordered the reinstatement of 24 Gaming Board Employees who were made redundant back in 2017.
Justice Indra Charles handed down the ruling yesterday.
Queens Counsel Wayne Munroe told Eyewitness News: “Our case was that this redundancy exercise was carried out in breach of the Employment Amendment Act 2017.”
That amendment passed under the former Christie administration came on the heels of a mass redundancy at the Sandals resort.
Munroe said: “The Act stipulated that if you were making more than 20 persons redundant you had to consult the union or an employee representative and if there is no union you have to give notice to the Minister of Labour 14 days out and consult the workers.
“They didn’t do that in this case. There was a collective bargaining agreement that also called for a process in the event of redundancy.
“The began a mass redundancy exercise in 2017 but did not follow the procedures outlined in the Act which they had said was so useful and necessary.”
According to initial reports, 30 employees had been given termination letters dated November 1, 2017 to December 13, 2017, purportedly on the grounds of redundancy.
The plaintiffs had contended however that in doing so, the Gaming Board “failed and/or refused to comply with the procedures required by Section 26A of the Employment Act, 2001, as well as Articles 25, 36 and 40 of the collective bargaining agreement between the Gaming Board and the Bahamas Public Services Union, dated January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2015.
Gaming Board chairman Kenyatta Gibson had stated that at the time that that the terminations came following the completion of a manpower assessment of the agency, suggesting it was overstaffed.
Munroe continued: “The judge found that the terminations by reason of redundancy was not carried out in accordance with the Act or the collective bargaining agreement.
“”She ordered 24 of the employees reinstated and awarded damages. They were management employees and employees of the bargaining unit.
He said: “She also ordered that two contractual workers who were dismissed should have the balance of their contracts paid out. There were some probationary workers and agents who she ruled were not entitled to anything.”
Justice Charles’ written ruling is expected to be made available on Monday.