May 11, 2011, 1:51 PM
Micheal Waston was giving evidence on behalf of one Seedy Cham, who sued AB RENT A CAR at the Kanifing Industrial Tribunal for wrongful termination of his service.
The witness told the tribunal that he lives in Kololi and he retired from AB RENT A CAR.
He adduced that he knew the plaintiff who was employed by the defendant when he was the manager.
Mr Waston posited that he worked with the plaintiff for three years, adding that the plaintiff was a good worker and was punctual, and he also worked on time.
Still testifying, he told the tribunal that from 1997 to June 2009, he worked as a manager, further stating that the defendant’s address was at Senegambia and its logo was blue and yellow with AB printed on it.
Mr Waston said he gave the plaintiff first warning letter, which was identified by the witness.
Garba Cham, who was representing the plaintiff, applied to tender the letter.
The defendant’s counsel, Salieu Taal, did not raise any objection and the letter was admitted by the tribunal.
The witness said he issued the plaintiff with a recommendation letter.
Garba Cham wanted to tender it but the defendant’s counsel objected because, according to him, it was not dated and it was altered.
Garba Cham told the tribunal that the letter was signed by the author.
Magistrate Jobarteh admitted the letter because of its relevance and said the weight attached to it would be determined.
Mr Waston finally testified that the plaintiff was bright and sometimes he would perform more than his colleagues.
At this juncture, the defendant’s counsel rose and started cross-examining the witness.
“You wrote a first warning letter,” Salieu Taal commented.
“It is correct,” said Waston.
“What was the reason?” asked Taal.
“The plaintiff was asked to do a trip to Dakar. He came back after two days. He locked the key inside the car,” Waston answered.
“At the time you were the manager, did you send the letter to the plaintiff as it is?” enquired Lawyer Taal.
“I corrected the wording and it is my signature. I did not send the recommendation letter to the plaintiff undated,” Mr Waston told the tribunal.
Earlier, one Lamin Bojang, an official from the Labour Department, testified on behalf of the plaintiff.
He said he is a Labour officer who knows the plaintiff, and that he lives in Tallinding.
Mr Bojang told the tribunal that he knew the plaintiff through a complaint lodged against the defendant on 23 May 2011.
He further testified that they were invited for a tripartite meeting on 27 May 2011, but the date written on the invitation letter was 4 June 2011.
Mr Bojang said the meeting was about two weeks of suspension of the plaintiff without pay, adding that the defendant failed to honour their invitation and wrote them a letter that the defendant was advised not to attend the meeting.
He further posited that on the day of the meeting, the plaintiff and the workers’ union met at the Labour Department and were told the defendant said they were advised not to attend the meeting.
Mr Bojang told the tribunal that after the meeting, the Labour Department wanted to write to the defendant but the workers’ union said it was not necessary, and they finally came to the tribunal.
He added that after the said meeting, the plaintiff resumed work and his service was terminated.
Under cross-examination, the defendant’s counsel asked the witness about the letter he was referring to.
“It was about the plaintiff’s suspension,” Mr Bojang answered.
“Is the defendant under any obligation to attend the meeting?” Lawyer Taal enquired.
“It is their obligation to attend the meeting, since our department is administering the department regarding terms and conditions of employment of workers. We also negotiate between the parties,” Bojang told the tribunal.
“Your role is to negotiate between the parties,” Lawyer Taal put it to the witness.
“We are to mediate but our invitation should be honoured,” said Bojang.
“In the event that a party fails to attend, will you force them?” Lawyer Taal wanted to know.
“We will not force them,” Bojang replied.
“You did not write another invitation letter?” asked Lawyer Taal.
“No, because the matter was already taken to the tribunal,” Bojang answered.
The case was adjourned till 6 January 2014, for defence.