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Redundancy Board Battles Dozen Layoff Claims at Sugar Syndicate



Redundancy Board Battles Dozen Layoff Claims at Sugar Syndicate

The Redundancy Board (RB) is currently handling a dozen cases of redundancy at Mauritius Sugar Syndicate (MSS) as part of a restructuring. Most of them are claiming redundancy payments under the provisions of the Workers Rights Act.

The President of the Redundancy Board, Rashid Hossen, ruled last Friday, 1st March 2024, on the case of the Quality Surveyor in Charge at MSS, Jacques Bernard Patrick Henry, who was entitled to redundancy payments of Rs 1.4 million after signing a Compromise Agreement, which was duly vetted by the Ministry of Labour.

Henry, who joined the company in 1989, claimed that the Redundancy Board was not notified of his redundancy and that he was not given the opportunity to seek legal advice as negotiations took place between him and his employer. The employee was dismissed on 30 October 2020.

In his judgment, Rashid Hossen stated that “the application is based substantially on two grounds:

(i) Failure to negotiate and (ii) Absence of independent legal advice.”

He questioned why the Applicant claimed lack of negotiation when he himself acknowledged being informed about the contents of his employment contract during a meeting with management.

The Freelance Consultant, Mrs Veena Ghurburrun, asserted that meetings and discussions had taken place with the workers, including the Applicant, regarding redundancy before the Compromise Agreement was signed. This evidence was not challenged.

Rashid Hossen noted that the Workers Rights Act was amended in 2021 and 2022, and now stipulates that a Compromise Agreement must involve a relevant independent adviser to be valid. The President also referenced previous judgments in similar cases to reach a conclusion.

In this particular case, the Redundancy Board decided to reject Jacques Bernard Patrick Henry’s request for severance allowance. Rashid Hossen concluded by stating, “For the reasons given above, we set aside this frivolous application for severance allowance.”

The cases of the other MSS employees facing redundancy will be heard before the RB this week.

Source: Le Mauricien

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