Over the last three years, disgruntled employees have won almost 4 times as many cases brought before the Industrial Disputes Tribunal, IDT, when compared to employers.
That’s according to a review of cases heard by the tribunal between 2016 and 2018.
Over the three year period, the IDT adjudicated 115 cases. Of that number, employees have won 46 per cent of the cases heard by the tribunal.
Over the same period, employers have found favour with the IDT only 12 per cent of the time. The other matters have either been settled or withdrawn. The IDT is the final adjudicator on labour disputes in Jamaica.
Two weeks ago, the government revealed it settled with the former Human Resources Manager at Petrojam, Yolande Ramharrack, instead of facing the IDT.
The Government decided against pursuing the matter despite what they say were credible grounds for dismissal.
Mrs. Ramharrack was eventually awarded more than $13-million in a severance deal that jolted the country. She took home more than 4-million dollars after deductions.
That has since thrust the IDT into the spotlight, with many business owners expressing their fear of taking matters to the tribunal.
The statistics over the past three years suggest those fears are real. Since 2016, the IDT has heard 115 cases. Of that number, the employees have been heavily favoured in decisions versus employers.
Over the last three years, the IDT has ruled in employees’ favour in 52 matters brought to the tribunal. That’s the equivalent of a 46-per cent success rate for employees.
In one of those cases, Vanguard Security Limited and Roshane Duffus, the employee won the matter, despite admitting to wrongdoing. It was revealed during the hearing that Vanguard Security, didn’t have the employee sign his charge sheet. It was also revealed the security company didn’t deliver the termination papers for the employee to the address listed on his file.
The IDT found that it’s possible the employee neither knew of his infraction nor was informed of his termination in awarding him a settlement.
Employers received favourable decisions from the IDT in only 14 matters. That’s the equivalent of a 12 percent success rate in decisions handed down by the IDT, over the three year period under review.
Over the period, Unions have also found success with the Tribunal. Since 2016, Unions have been before the IDT on seven occasions.
On only one occasion did the Tribunal rule against a trade union. In 2016, the University and Allied Workers Union, UAWU, brought Noranda Bauxite Company before the Tribunal seeking, to have a Productivity Incentive Scheme implemented. The IDT ruled in favour of Noranda.
On another occasion, the Union representing Petrojam workers settled with Petrojam. The union was seeking a wage increase. Over the three year period only 1 matter brought before the IDT was withdrawn by the complainant.
An additional 43 matters were settled before the IDT completed hearings into the cases. This accounts for 36-per cent of cases heard by the IDT over the period. Of the settlements, the IDT helped a disgruntled employee reach a mutual agreement with an employer through the tribunal.