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BIGWU protests dismissal of CAL’s Ramnarine

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Larry Howai

The Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) has objected to the way in which Caribbean Airlines (CAL) dismissed Shiva Ramnarine as the airline’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) last year. In a release to the media yesterday, BIGWU said that the dismissal was done in breach of principles of natural justice while Ramnarine was on probation.


“It was drawn to our attention that the dismissal was done in breach of the principles of natural justice which allows for every accused the right to be heard and the right to respond to any accusations made against them,” the release said. According to media reports, in August 2013 Ramnarine was dismissed after it was alleged that he acted contrary to proper procedures.


Ramnarine in a report to the Finance Minister Larry Howai had claimed CAL narrowly averted having 11 of its aircraft seized by securing a US$50 million loan from First Citizens bank to cover outstanding arrears owed to the International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). BIGWU also said that the matter has engaged the attention of Howai and Trade Minister Vasant Bharath.


“We call on them to take notice of the issues we have raised and moreso since no one, not even a member of the board of directors can breach the principles of natural justice and get away with it.” The union added that T&T’s industrial relations history is replete with judgments from the Industrial Court that have gone against employers who dismissed employees in breach of the principles of natural justice.


BIGWU quoted the Industrial Court as saying: “an employer is not entitled at his will to terminate the appointment of a worker merely because he is on probation.” Clint Williams, communications manager of CAL declined to comment on the BIGWU’s statement telling the Guardian it was not their policy to comment on its employment practices in public. “It is not our policy to comment on the employment status of our staff current or past, so I am afraid we will have no comment at this time,” Williams said.


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