Apr 21, 2016, 10:54 AM
Marcel Meuldijk, proprietor of Triple M Lodge, recently testified in his defence before the Industrial Tribunal in Kanifing after been dragged to court by two of his former employees, Ousman Bojang and Lamin Cham.
The plaintiffs’ are making claim for wrongful termination of their services.
Testifying, the witness told the court he was the proprietor of Tripple M Lodge since 2010, adding that prior to that his mother was the proprietor.
According to him, Tripple M Lodge started operation in 2001 and the plaintiffs were working with them and he came to know Ousman Bojang in 2001 whilst Lamin Cham in 2007.
“They were taking care of the gardens and assisting customers in taking care of rooms,” said the witness.
Meuldijk said the issue between him and the plaintiffs started in May 2011, when he decided to change their timetable from 9a.m to 12p.m and from 4p.m - 10 p.m.
He noted that the main timetable was starting from 9a.m to 5p.m, including an hour break for all staff including the plaintiffs but the two were not happy about the change of the timetable.
“They told me that they will not work with the new timetable,” said the proprietor of Tripple M Lodge.
However, he further indicated that he informed the plaintiffs that it was going to begin on 1 June 2011.
The witness revealed that at the end of May 2011, he gave the main timetable to Lamin Cham, which he took away, adding that the first plaintiff came with the same piece of paper and tore it, using insulting words at him.
“On the 1st of June, when Lamin came to work, I reminded him about the new timetable,” he said, adding that later Lamin came with Ousman Bojang and they told him they were leaving and were going to give him a big problem.
“The plaintiffs did not take permission and did not give reasons why they were going to leave,” he told the tribunal.
Still on his evidence, the defendant’s witness said that on 2 June, when Ousman Bojang came, he (the witness) gave him a letter in which he indicated he was going to pay him one-month salary in lieu of notice and that he could not work with them anymore.
According to him, the next day he gave Lamin the same letter, but he did not read it, and left.
“On 4 June 2011, I received a letter from the Labour Department for a meeting with the plaintiffs and its official,” he asserted, adding that on the meeting on 13 June 2011, he was told by the labour officials “to hire them and pay Ousman Bojang over D135, 000 and Lamin over D667, 000.
The witness adduced that he told them that he was going to seek legal advice, adding that on the same date he sent letters to the plaintiffs for a hearing on 17 June 2011 to explain why they should continue to work with them.
The said letters were tendered as exhibit.
He further indicated that on 14 June 2011, the plaintiff visited him and gave him a letter.
“They told me that they would not attend the meeting and that the case was under the Labour Department,” he revealed.
However, the witness said the said meeting was held and the outcome was that they the plaintiffs were not present.
The said letters were also tendered and admitted as exhibits.
“In June 2011, I offered them 14 days leave and on 20 June 2011, I decided to give them more days and asked them to come and collect two months’ salary in lieu of notice,” the proprietor told the tribunal, adding that the plaintiffs never turned up.
Hearing was set to continue on 22 May 2012.