Bridge Company has been dragged to the Kanifing Industrial Tribunal by Lamin
Fadera and eleven other employees of the company, claiming for the recovery of
D581,340 as six-month notice and six-month redundancy allowance. They also
claim a suit filing cost of D20, 000 and an interest of 25% on the total
First plaintiff Lamin Fadera testified before Magistrate Blessed assisted by panelists Yaya Njie and Ismaila Njie on May 17where he told the tribunal that he was an operator at the company.
He said he and his colleagues went to receive their salaries at the company but they were given a letter, saying they were paid month salary before they sue the company to the tribunal, noting that the company paid them their salaries and were served termination letters.
At this juncture, Garba Cham, the secretary general of The Gambia Workers’ Union, who was representing the plaintiffs, tendered one of the termination letters.
The defendant’s representative did not raise any objection to the tendering of the said letter, which was admitted as an exhibit.
Mr. Fadera further told the tribunal that they went to the Labour Department which sent a representative to Mansakonko to mediate between the plaintiffs and the company, adding that there was a Memorandum of Understanding at the mediation.
Garba Cham again applied to tender the said Memorandum of Understanding to which the defendant’s representative did not object, and was subsequently admitted by the tribunal in evidence.
He disclosed that they sat for a while and they did not hear from the defendant, further narrating that this was why they instituted the suit against the defendant.
Mr. Fadera adduced that the Labour Department wrote a letter to the company asking them why the plaintiffs should sit and wait, and that they should have been paid 12 months’ salaries.
Garba Cham, at this juncture, applied to tender the said letter and the defendant’s representative did not raise any objection. The tribunal therefore admitted the letter as an exhibit.
Under cross-examination, the defendant’s representative asked:
“Was there any meeting arranged between the workers and the company before the termination letters were given to you?”
“Yes, but at the meeting you told us that you were going to reduce our salaries and we did not agree, and the meeting came to an end,” Mr. Fadera replied. “I put it to you that you told us that you would get back to us.”
“In conclusion, we told you that we did not agree. You spoke to us verbally and we also responded verbally. I responded to one Roberto on behalf of my colleagues.”
“I am putting it to you that the management did not hear from you until they wrote to you and said they would reduce your salaries.” “We responded verbally.”
“I am also putting it to you that the notification of salary was put in writing.”
“We did not see the notification letter.”
At this juncture, the defendant’s representative applied to be given time to produce the notification letter before the tribunal.
Garba Cham then told the tribunal that he had no objection.
The case was subsequently adjourned to the 31st May, 2018, for continuation.
According to the particulars of claim of the plaintiffs, they were at all material time working for the defendant, and that on the 5th October, 2017, their services were terminated as a result of financial problems.
The plaintiffs further claimed that they reported the matter to the Labour Department which convened a tripartite meeting to mediate between the defendant and the plaintiffs but to no avail.