Telone has been landed in the hot seat by 82 former employees who are demanding $23 million worth of compensation for being “unlawfully dismissed” back in 2004. In 2004 Telone dismissed a total of 1655 employee ’s after they embarked on a strike for a pay rise.
This is the latest attempt by the workers to be compensated after last year they resorted to taking the issue to the International Labour Court. And the compensation is likely to increase if other dismissed employees get on the bandwagon. The compensation is a summation of salary arrears ($18.2 million), outstanding bonus ($1.4 million), unpaid retracement packages ($1.665 million) and cash in lieu of leave areas ( $1.4 million).
Let’s step back in time- What happened in 2004?
The strike started after Telone’s management refused to award a pay rise as recommended by an arbitrator in March 2004. The strike was in the form of the employees absenting themselves from work.
Telone then went on to suspended (for breaching its Code of Conduct) the employees who were on strike without pay and other benefits, before they were eventually dismissed.
The dismissed workers then took the case to the High Court, which the in their favor, ordering TelOne to reinstate the workers.
Disgruntled with the ruling, Telone took the case to the Supreme Court which squashed the (previous) High Court decision and in turn judging that Telone had wholly acted within the law by dismissing the workers.
What are the ex-employees now saying?
The 82 former employees are now saying that their dismissal was illegal as it wasn’t formally done since there were no hearings conducted for their strike. Through their legal advisors, the dismissed workers said;
It is respectfully submitted that the dismissal of claimants from employment was unlawful in that no hearings were conducted against them and worse still, they were not served with termination letters of their employment with the responded (if the) collective job action, which they participated (in) was unlawful.
Suppose the dismissed workers successfully win the case, this could be a huge blow to Telone as the claimed compensation (as it is) can claim at least 20% of its annual total revenue.