Court dismisses workers suit against Standard Chartered Ghana

An Accra High Court, Industrial and Labour Division 2, has dismissed a suit filed by ten (10) ex-workers of Standard Chartered Ghana against their former employers and the Union of Industry Commerce and Finance (UNICOF) of TUC, demanding a declaration that the company has discriminated against them by placing a Cap of 17½ years in working the redundancy pay due each of them in a redundancy exercise embarked in 2016.

Speaking to the ex-workers who have worked for the company for the period ranging from 23½ years to 36 years, they expected the company to fix their redundancy pay by factoring into account their “past service” in their entire working life with the company as stipulated by law.

The judgement which was given by Her Ladyship Justice Laurenda Owusu, Justice of the High Court, stated that the plaintiffs have not discharged the burden place on them to proof sufficient evidence for a reasonable mind to conclude that their evidence is more probable than that of the Defendants to entitle them to their claims.

The Plaintiffs in a statement of claim filed on 18th January 2017 sought for a declaration that an MOU reached between Standard Chartered Ghana and UNICOF is not binding on the plaintiff as they were never consulted by the two before, during or after the meeting that culminated in the signing of the MOU signed on 22nd January 2016. According to the Labour Law, employers willing to embark upon redundancy exercise must notify the Workers Union, in this case UNICOF who represents the interest of these ex-workers in the banking sector and further enter into negotiations on the terms and conditions of the exercise.

The aggrieved ex-workers sought for an order for the parties to go back and renegotiate the redundancy package before the redundancy exercise was carried out. In their statement of claim they requested for an interlocutory injunction restraining Standard Chartered from carrying out the intended redundancy exercise or terminating their appointments pending the determination of the suit. They held the position that UNICOF in representing the workers signed the MOU with Standard Chartered by setting out the package each affected staff were to receive. According to the workers, UNICOF, without the express consent of affected staff accepted a package worse off than what had been agreed by parties previously in 2014.

Standard Chartered began a redundancy exercise as a result of restructuring of its operations. The exercise was purported to be on a global scale and information reveals now that they may carry further redundancy in February 2019. The company is expected to carry out this exercise in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Act 2003, Act 651 on redundancy.

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