Business News of Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Sacked workers of Starbow may lay claim to some compensation if the grounds for their contract termination are completely determined.
This is the indication from labour analyst, Austin Gammey.
The workers have been dismissed since last Thursday, November 30, 2017.
The development comes weeks after the company’s aircraft had an accident at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
However, it is unclear if that necessarily culminated in the dismissals or other operational challenges already facing the company.
Citing the content of the letter announcing the termination of contracts by Starbow, Mr. Gammey explained that the development has largely been influenced by the company’s own terms of employment.
According to the Labour Analyst, the option adopted by Starbow could have also been driven by an advice from a company’s legal representatives.
The company based on section 17 of the Labour Act 2003 which states that, “the contract of employment shall be terminated at any time by either party giving the other party one months’ notice or one month’s pay in lieu of notice for contract three years or more.”
“Or, the employee or employer may give two weeks’ notice or two weeks’ pay in lieu of notice in the case of contract less than three years.”
Per this, the affected workers have no compensation to lay claim to.
“The primary document would have been the kind of contract they have with the employer, and if you have contract with the employer which benefits inure to your side, that is what will be upheld. If you do not have any contract at all, then the short law being the Labour Act 651, in this case I can envisage that a legal mind may have told the employer to just invoke section 17 of the Labour Act and that is what they are dwelling on to pay them a one month pay in lieu of notice,” he explained.
However, Mr. Gammey believes both parties could negotiate and trigger section 65 (1) of the labour act which “allows for the employer to notify the Chief Labour Officer not later than three months before executing the planned exercise i.e. reducing production levels, downsizing the labour, etc.
He also gives the dynamics where there is a union or otherwise.
“If they belong to a union, obviously the union ma exert some kind of pressures on the employer and lift the matter to the National Labour Commission earlier to enable them to go into it but if they don’t belong to a union and the employer is a good employer as it is expected to be, then the two parties can sit down and negotiate,” Mr. Gammey suggested.
The development is said to have left the industry with only one airline company operating presently.
Some have contemplating possible monopoly in the absence of a calculated plan to drive down cost.
Reacting to this however, the CEO of the World Trade Centre in Accra tells Citi Business News the development may influence operations of any potential new entrant into the domestic airline space.
“It’s up to them to do their research to check why the others failed; is it that government’s policies are not favourable for all, if there are no biases and other airlines can come in, they can learn from how the other airlines failed to see how best they can enter the market without going through the same situation,” he argued.