Case details

Chief Personnel Officer (Appellant) v Amalgamated Worker's Union (Respondent) (Trinidad & Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2015/0081

Jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Case summary

Issue(s)

1. Whether the Court of Appeal erred in finding that the Industrial Court had not exceeded its jurisdiction in making the reinstatement and compensation order, where:

  1. the Respondent did not report the worker’s alleged dismissal to the Minister as part of the certified trade dispute;
  2. the Minister did not include dismissal as an issue in dispute between the parties in his certificate dated 22 November 2007;

2. Whether the Court of Appeal deprived the Appellant of the protection of the law, by failing to find that the Industrial Court had misconstrued its powers under s. 10 of the Industrial Relations Act when it made the reinstatement and compensation order.

Background

Mr Daniel Riley was a member of the Respondent union and had been in the Appellant’s employment since 1983. The Appellant brought disciplinary proceedings against Mr Riley for the alleged theft of petrol on 7 May 1999, and Mr Riley was suspended from work on 11 May 1999. The Appellant failed to deliver a decision on the disciplinary proceedings within ten days from the date on which the disciplinary proceedings ended (23 January 2007). The Respondent therefore wrote to the Minister of Labour, reporting the existence of a trade dispute under s. 51(1)(b) of the Industrial Relations Act. The Respondent indicated that the trade dispute was over "the failure to follow the Grievance Procedure Article 16 … in Daniel Riley’s Tribunal." As a result, a trade dispute was certified under s. 59(1) by the Minister of Labour on 22 November 2007; it was specified that "the dispute, as reported by the Union, concerns the failure to follow the Grievance Procedure Article 16, effective 6th February 2007, in respect of the tribunal of Daniel Riley."

The Industrial Court heard the dispute, and, in its judgment dated 9 November 2012, held that the Appellant’s delay in making the decision was excessive and in breach of the collective agreement. It ordered Mr Riley’s reinstatement as from 11 May 1999 (the date of his suspension from work), without loss of seniority, emoluments and other benefits, and ordered that the Appellant pay Mr Riley’s salary and other pecuniary benefits due from 10 May 1999 to 9 November 2012. The Court of Appeal upheld this order. The Appellant accepts that it was in breach of the collective agreement as found by the Industrial Court but takes issue with the reinstatement and compensation order made.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Chief Personnel Officer

Respondent(s)

Amalgamated Workers' Union

Appeal

Justices

Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lady Arden, Lord Kitchin

Hearing start date

10 Feb 2020

Hearing finish date

10 Feb 2020

Watch hearing
10 Feb 2020 Morning session Afternoon session