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Francis Fashions: We had to fire them; employees “agreed” to work extra hour and then reneged

“By memorandum date January 2nd 2018, the workers were informed that they will be required to work for an extra hour from Monday to Thursday each week till further notice to clear up a backlog of containers which had been received by the company.

“The workers signed acknowledging receipt of the said memorandum and having read same. The workers are paid overtime for any extra time worked. On Monday 5th March 2018, the workers refused to work for the extra hour and advised that they are contracted to work until 5pm…”

In the following Letter to the Editor, Cadel Trading, a subsidiary of Francis Fashions and Shoe Locker, gives its account of the termination of some two dozen employees on 7 March, 2018. Cadel Trading has listed the number of terminated workers as 22 while the National Workers Union (NWU) gave the figure as 25.

Photo: Francis Fashions Shoe Locker operations manager Arund Ramlal (left) shows Jericho Project director Roger Varley one of the tops that the company will donate to the Brands of Hope initiative.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

With reference to the recent termination of 22 workers, Cadel Trading would wish to make the following points:

1) By memorandum date January 2nd 2018, the workers were informed that they will be required to work for an extra hour from Monday to Thursday each week till further notice to clear up a backlog of containers which had been received by the company. The workers signed acknowledging receipt of the said memorandum and having read same.

2) The workers are paid overtime for any extra time worked.

3) On Monday 5th March 2018 the workers refused to work for the extra hour and advised that they are contracted to work until 5pm. In this regard, the Company advised them that it was clearly stated at the time of employment that they will be required to work extra hours to facilitate the receiving and unloading of containers. This was agreed to by each worker.

4) Management informed the workers that their refusal was in breach of their contract of employment and could result in disciplinary action. The workers ignored this caution and left the workplace.

5) On the morning of Tuesday 6th March 2018, the workers gathered on the roadway and on the pavement outside of the Company’s compound. Management invited the workers inside the compound to report to work, and to have a meeting. The workers refused. The workers also stated that if Management wants to meet with them they should come in the road to do so. Management again extended an invitation to the workers to come inside the compound to report for work and to have a meeting, and they again refused. The workers remained on the pavement and on the roadway for the entire day and refused to report for work.

Photo: The Francis Fashions Shoe Locker logos.

6) On the morning of Wednesday 7th March 2018, the workers again gathered on the roadway and pavement outside of the Company’s compound. For the third time, the invitation was extended to the workers to report for work, and to have a meeting, and for the third time the workers refused.

7) It is interesting to note that on the said Wednesday 7th March 2018 when rain fell, the workers entered the compound to seek shelter, and returned to the roadway and pavement outside the Company’s compound when the rain ceased. The Management of the Company carefully considered the actions of the 22 workers from Monday 5th March to Wednesday 7th March 2018 and came to the view that these said workers had by their actions breached the contract of employment and in so doing had caused damage to the Company.

9) Cadel Trading/Francis Fashions/Shoe Locker has always been and continues to be a responsible corporate citizen. Numerous opportunities were provided to these workers to report to work and discuss their concerns, all of which were rejected. In the circumstances, the Company was left with little option but to terminate their employment for breach of the employment contract.

Editor’s Note: Click HERE for the National Workers Union (NWU) account of what transpired between the employees and their employer. And HERE for NWU’s explanation of why the union thinks Francis Fashions/Cadel Trading/Shoe Locker are in violation of international labour laws.

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197 comments

  1. According to your statement, the workers signed that “memorandum” on the 2nd January 2018 and their jobs were terminated on the 7th March. Two months of overtime from Mondays to Thursdays? Two months of not being able to interact with their children and mates? and when they request a day you dismiss them on that foolish grounds? Two months they worked overtime, one day off and you blasted vex? DROP DEAD EAH!

  2. A privilege you say, this statement alone proves that you are fully house broken, go lick massa foot

  3. The same slave mentality “Geneva” practiced on their workers. You have to accumulate your overtime to be paid at the end of the year when it is convenient to them for overtime performed prior. Bandits and slave masters

  4. We go abroad and also work overtime, that doesn’t make it correct or legal. Why kill yourself if the returns is little or of no benefit. The outsiders will gladly grasp it because the money made in comparison to his home it’s worth it. Why should someone work overtime,giving their spouse that extra burden that they would otherwise assist with, for “peanuts”

  5. Work is a right, not a privilege. Trust

  6. All you stuff is bootleg……boycott

  7. Look massa talking. Smh I hope they take them to court

  8. Lazy trini workers again, can’t off load a container or too, thus ensuring the viability of the business that puts food in their belly? They should volunteer for free, and be grateful, OR WORK FOR THEMSELVES!

    • You should definitely be by the warehouse rendering your free service .. Clearly you have no issue with off loading a container or two ( not too ). Clearly you have a love for shoe locker / francis fashion like no other pleAse ensure the viability they are more than willing im sure to put food in your belly and definitely you will be a star employee for free overtime

    • I believe if you work for someone, work 110%, don’t do anything half measures. When I worked for Toyota, after I retired, the boss came by my house for 3 months begging me to come back. The priciple here is simple, make money when you are young, and invest it. Don’t expect anyone to give handouts, and do what you can to improve the viability of your company, self, and country.

  9. Obvious that workers are not happy with HR crap..u can’t do manditory overtime..wth

  10. Advantage the small man plus how is it these people don’t have FOREX issues?

  11. Sandra pope from your answer u are a business who loves free labour a company cannot force u to work behind 8 hrs a day some employers say they pay overtime but at what rate overtime is time and a half, double time and triple time most of them pay regular rate and say they paying overtime even if they lazy they are entitled to be lazy after eight hour when shift is completed .

  12. If we don’t buy there imitation goods they will b no more that could b our form of protest f Francis fashion an shoe locker sky box for it

  13. No wonder we have so many outsiders working here. You think they backing away from an extra hr work?

  14. 25 other workers gonna be exploited for less pay. All these work places are plantations in disguise. Give them your years for money which really doesn’t exist but it make you feel independent. When it’s all said and done you are 50/55 years with nothing more than debt. Paperwork is just for formalities to fool you into thinking you have or had an Imput. Unions are on their pay list. The media is on their pay list also the only recourse is to simply do nothing. Workers in these situations don’t have the time or finances to take on these giants. Shit happens learn and work towards buildings your own empire. The greatest battle is the battle never fought

  15. Right is right and wrong is wrong. If we live below our means where possible. We will have a voice they will have to listen to( who ever they may be )

  16. Working for the hour is not the problem is if they want to pay 20 for that extra hour does it worth it

  17. Once the employees cover their 8hr shift they cannot be forced to work extra hours. What management did was unethical and unfair to their employees. It’s an abusive of power. They could have handled this much better.

  18. Sandra pope This will not make sense to you but I’ll still attempt to. Base on the information put out by the company these workers were asked to work overtime. This should be voluntary. An employer should not force an employee to work overtime. The workers have a life outside of their job. If the company has a backlog they could have taken on temporary workers and created an additional shift to clear the back log. If the workers did not want to work overtime they had a right to refuse. Don’t know how that equates being rude or lazy but may be in another life you were a slave master.?

  19. Typical fool… Always quick to use their ass to talk without proper information on the shitty conditions these workers faced daily, u wouldn’t last a day if u go through what they did

  20. The workers need to make themselves conversant with aspects of the law that govern their work and terms of employment. In the case of Francis Fashions employees , they would be governed by the terms laid out in the Minimum Wages Act which also encapsulate overtime and how the renumeration for same should be paid. This legislation would guide as well as instruct their dealings going forward.

  21. Before you say that please find out my child work there for yrs. Many time he reach home late. Thank god he is ok these companies have no heart. So please shot up if you don’t no you better ask some body

  22. Boycott Francis Fashion let’s join with the workers the one percent just getting away with murder hit them where it hurts their pocket, don’t forget they boost about how are they are the riches in the country yet they trying to rob poor people they don’t really care about this country only what they can get out of it boycott them.

  23. For employees in general, other than shift workers, the normal hours of work are eight hours a day, usually from 8:00am to 4:00pm, five days a week. The Minimum Wages Order , Legal Notice No.40 of 1999 attempted to set down hours of work for all workers in Trinidad and Tobago, including State employees.

    According to the Minimum Wages (Shop Assistants) Order, 1991:

    1. Section 4 – 40 hours INCLUDING lunch

    2. Laws cover the entire country, regardless of sector

    3(a) You are entitled to over-time under Section 5 – 1.5x your regular rate for the first 4 hours over 40 hours, 2x for the second 4 hours and 3x for any time after that.

    (b) The “Labour Board” can only deal with issues that are brought to its attention. Your first step is writing to your employer. You are protected from being fired for complaining, so don’t worry.

    4(a) Based on my calculation (and I’m not very good at Math), you are currently being illegally made to work extra hours/week. This means you should be paid an extra 1.5x/4 + 2x/4 + 3x/.5

    (b)You are also entitled to lunch on Saturdays; i.e., 45 minutes break after every 4.5 hours worked; this is according to Section 4 of the Minimum Wages Order

  24. Francis fashions is grimy and should be taken to industrial court for their underhand tactics. They would never try that shit elsewhere

  25. Modern day slavery mentality in other countries they would’ve been boycotted by the public for sure.

  26. Some ah allyuh talking crap. Overtime is one thing. Then yuh not getting extra pay. Then it going on for months…and months no end. More work, less workers, more demands. I was working in the office before and after Christmas so I know how hard these guys work. They gave more than enough and it good they walk. They will get justice.

    • Overtime is an employee option not the employer. The employee is entitled to refuse overtime. Once their contracted hours of employment is fulfilled there is no breach of contract….francis fashion is a failure.

  27. So there’s a backlog for two months ?