Chambers, Ava v Holiday Inn Jamaica Incorporation

Case Number: 
C.L.C 205 of 2002
Date of Delivery: 
01.02.2007

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE OF JAMAICA

CLAIM NO C.L.C 205 of 2002 1

BETWEEN AVA CHAMBERS CLAIMANT

AND HOLIDAY INN JAMAICA INCORPORATION DEFENDANT

Jeneice Nelson-Brown instructed by Rattray, Patterson, Rattray for the claimant

L.F.D. Smith instructed by Ziadie, Reid and Company for the defendant

REDUNDANCY PAYMENTS, WHETHER CONTRACT ILLEGAL, BREACH OF

SECTION 4 OF THE LABOUR RELATIONS AND INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES ACT

January 22, 23 and February 1, 2007 c: SYKES J.

1. The first issue in this case is whether there was an agreement between Miss

Ava Chambers and Holiday Inn Jamaica Incorporation in which she agreed to cease

being a member of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (B.I.T.U.) in order

become a manager. If yes, is this agreement enforceable? The answer to both

questions is yes. These are my reasons.

The facts

2. Miss Chambers joined Holiday Inn International Ltd in 1984. She worked with

the company 19+ years before she was made redundant. Her redundancy payment

was calculated on the statutory rate laid down in the Employment (Termination and

Redundancy Payments) Act. Miss Chambers says that it was a term of her contract

that she should be paid at union rate which was higher than the statutory rate. The

union had successfully negotiated significant benefits for its members at Holiday

Inn. One of those benefits, which is the material one for this case, was an improved

rate of redundancy payment should that eventuality occur.

3. Miss Chambers testified that when she was to be promoted she had discussions

with the then general manager, a Mr. Mohamed Aldoost, the financial controller, Mr.

Lionel Moore, and Miss Hope Sterling, the human resources manager. According to

her, she was assured that on promotion all her union benefits would remain but she

would no longer be a part of the union. She continued by saying that that did not

sound unusual to her because in all her years at the company she had never known

any manager to be a member of a trade union. I n fact, she felt that a manager could

not be a member of a union. The only evidence coming from the defendant to refute

this is an assertion of the most general kind that did not deal with the specific claim

made by Miss Chambers. That evidence came from the current director of human

resources, Mr. Ray Howard. He testified that in his many years experience in

industrial relations he had never heard of an agreement of this nature. There is no

evidence of where this experience was acquired and in what circumstances. I n any

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