Sun Beach Former Workers Asked To Take Leave Without Salary, Say Plaintiffs

By Muhammad Bah

The case involving 8 Former employees of Sun Beach Hotel, on Tuesday 15th July 2014, proceeded before the Kanifing Industrial Tribunal after it was mentioned in 2011. The case was chaired by Ousman Jabang and the plaintiffs claim the sum of D133,332.00 in lieu of notice of termination, redundancy payments dues, including general damages for statutory breach of contract of employment by their former employer after being asked to take leave without salary.

The plaintiffs in this matter were represented by Mr. Ebrima Garba Cham, the Secretary General of the Gambia Workers Union and they are Foday Lubang jarju, Eliman Manneh, Sulayman Sowe, Foday Sanyang, Ramou Demba, Sianabou Jarjou,Jainaba Barry and Fatoumata Sowe.

The plaintiffs said they have worked for the defendant Hotel from 2002 to 2010; that they were employed as Drivers, Waitresses and Housekeepers.

Leading the plaintiffs to give their evidence was Mr. Garba Cham, the secretary General of Workers Union. The plaintiffs told the tribunal on the 6th of May 2010 that a memo was released to all staff and the management requested for employees to apply for 3 months leave without salary. The memo they said states ‘priority to re-assign any employee would be given to concerned staff for their understanding.’

The plaintiffs said they complied by the memo due to certain paragraphs in it with the hope that the company would re-assign them. However, they said after the expiry of the leave they were asked to apply for an extension for another 2 months due to low activities in the hotel; that at the expiry of the second leave they were also requested to extend once more the leave without salary.

The workers told the tribunal that after the final leave, they all refused to apply for another leave without salary and subsequently their services were terminated and their benefits were not accordingly paid to them.

For the defendant’s failure to observe section 93(8) of the 2007 labour act and also failed to pay their six month’s redundancy leave as enshrined in that section, the plaintiffs said they decided to sue the company to the tribunal.

The plaintiffs revealed an instance to the tribunal where a staff was once sick and was admitted for 9 months and when he got back to work his job was terminated.

The plaintiffs claim the sum of D133,332.00 to be the payment in lieu of notice of the employees, redundancy payments, dues, general damages for statutory breach of contract of employment between the plaintiffs and their employer, the Sun Beach hotel.

The matter is subsequently adjourned to the 21st of July 2014.