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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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  1. Some companies put in their EMPLOYMENT contract that employees would be required to work overtime with notice…. if this is in your employment contract then the memo would serve as notice and if you signed the memo then it means you acknowledged that you were notified and based on your contract of employment you are therefore required to work…. At least thats how i know it…

    • These ppl just did not wanted to work…a memo was send….they agree and sign…i sure no gun was place at they head and say sign….but this is trinidad where workers always right

    • Vishram the company said the workers acknowledge receipt not that they agreed to contents of memo. Read it over. Slowly.

    • But we need to find out if their contract mentioned that over time may be required , cuz if so … the workers are at fault.. … cuz where I work sometime u have to work late I just can’t say I going home…

    • Amazing how quick ppl play victim eh. Smh. Anyway.. let the union guide them and get them new jobs.

    • Lasana…. maybe you should slowly read over my comment as well… if it is in their employment contract then the memo serves as notice and by signing the memo acknowledging notice then it means they are bound by the terms in their contract. If they do not want to work overtime and dont agree with the details of the memo then get another job that doesnt require it. Simple… trini people dont read and would easily sign away their life without knowing it. Read your contract… ask for a copy.. know your rights…

    • Tish, I am not privy to their contract. Are you? Or are you just speculating?
      You can say it slowly if you like—so I can follow nah. ?
      What we do know is there was a memo. Both sides kinda agree on that. Neither side gave contract details.
      Maybe you are an employee. Or maybe you’re a member of management. Tell us if so, so we will better understand why you want us to speculate about the information that is NOT in the public domain when there is already quite a bit of info available to discuss.

    • Im neither…. but did you even read the article mr sarcastic? And i quote “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.” #bye

    • Tish so your case is built on the one thing that Francis Fashions didn’t prove or even attempt to prove? Three letters from both parties and you hang your hat on something that isn’t in any of them.
      So far the only thing Francis Fashions attempted to prove was that it informed workers that they were wanted for overtime. I’m not going to bend backwards to make their case for them.
      If Francis Fashions think they have a clause that makes their actions fine, then they should prove that.
      Word of caution. Francis Fashions could have asked employees to sign over their first born children to the company too. And they might have signed. But not everything written down is legally binding if it contravenes the law of the land.
      Wired868 published some relevant labor laws. Hope you didn’t miss that.

    • Lasana i think you missed tish mc leod point..what she was saying is some employers “not saying francis fashions” names were not called outline certain requirements of employment..now if this was the case then the workers who were dismissed case looks a bit weaker..not saying it is just observation…the only information we the public are previed to is what the ex employees state and what the union, which only has information from the employees again as standard work procedures…only when facts from both sides are presented then can one say x,y,z…but in the mean its all hear say..

    • Tish Mc Leod it’s quite obvious here you are willing to read into the workers alleged contract and interpret it’s contents, as miserably explained by Management. Yet the employees side of the explanation you are noticably silent, if in some way you are affiliated to the Management there’s no harm in that, maybe you would be able to do a better job at explaining.

      Otherwise we would be inclined to think, you have a deeper knowledge and more information that you are willing to say. For your slip is showing and it’s revealing, some of closer affiliation that you want to reveal. If is so is so..you are entitled to stand up for or on behalf of the employer if it’s your desire…

    • Roshan apart from the irony in urging people to beware hearsay while adding more hearsay to the mix… if you scroll up, I was responding to vishram and pointing out that there is only proof that workers got memo and not that they necessarily agreed.
      I wasn’t debating with Tisha at all until she tagged me and suggested I should read her comment slowly for some reason.

    • Im not taking any side and im not employed with the company in question. Im actually in the public service FYI. My comment was based on the article that wired868 posted and my knowledge of things that i have experienced before. Wording is very important in a contract and cab be perceived differently however, i wish to reiterate my first point that based on the article… if something is in your employment contract and based on the laws you are being paid accordingly then what makes it illegal or unjust?

    • Tish you cant sign away a basic human right. One such right for employee is the right to paid lunch hour and to turn down extra work.
      Workers can give that up voluntarily but they are also free to say no without menace. It shouldn’t matter if they signed. It is a human right that they are obliged to receive.
      On top of that—if we are to speculate—it is likely that they were not aware of their rights at the time and, one might argue, were taken advantage of when they were asked to give up those rights in the first place.

    • Thank you Lasana for the info. Just for clarity sake…as i was not aware … are you saying that i could politely refuse to work overtime even if i agreed to working overtime in my T&C of Employment. If that is so I will definitely be looking into that.

    • Tish I’d recommend you speak to a contract lawyer. Lol. But that is the protection you have under the international labor organisation. And Trinidad and Tobago are signatories.
      So you may be legally and morally right. What protection there actually is for you is another question.

    • Im not looking into it for me hahahaha …. doesnt hurt to educate yourself about your rights. Even more so when you are employed by the government under contract ?

    • Tish we had two advice pieces that WERE written by a lawyer on HR matters. I will publish the links.

  2. Reading and acknowledging receipt of communication does not equate to agreement to work under the terms outlined in the notice.

  3. Dem is part of the 1% who want to exploit workers

  4. I had stopped shopping there a good while now and this will just strengthen my resolve not to shop there anymore just wish that there was a lot more like minded people but you know how Trinis are they might leave them out for a week or two then is back to normal.

  5. Any excuse now by companies to get rid of staff

  6. Alluh Walt Noriega advertising fuh shoe locker now

  7. From what is read from release, the workers signed having read the memorandum” and that is what it was. Most employers use that forum to ensure that employees acknowledge new policies, or any information they want staff to be aware of, so their cannot say they were not aware.

    In this case to use a memorandum or a notice of information to take the form of a contract is highly deceptive, and disingenuous. This on the face of it was not a term or conditions of any contract ; but an acknowledgement of receipt of information. And to think this company has the gall to openly claim this was an acceptance and agreement of a contract of some sort…. pathetic.

  8. Well this is simple just give the media a copy of the contract with the signatures get the fired workers to show some Id and comparing the two.

  9. And then they wonder why some people prefer not to go the route of a legal job. Treatment like this is dished out to those they deem “desperate” enough to “take what dey get”…gross disrespect and underestimation of the intelligence of those they hire.

  10. Which store those goods were unpacked cuz to me anytime I go there they ain’t have nun

  11. That’s bullshit, u still can’t force someone to work overtime.

  12. Francis put dem on d white bread line.. lazy mc.

  13. Shaquille Moses they have alot of contracts to show but yet they cant show d media one yet

  14. I still waiting to see this contract we breach an they cant show these contracts yet

  15. They are known to take advantage of their workers. There are permanent vacancies advertisements in the newspapers. If they fire 24, there are hundreds waiting to be hired.

  16. The same men they send home for so called breach off contract was the same men staying back late hours having to wait on maxi taxi to go home

  17. Stand up! More to this story keep digging!

  18. How could we refuse to work when the company lock us out for some educated men they on bull

  19. They too wicked .evil doers.
    They want the poor people to be subjected to their whims and fancies I’ll bet the workers signed by force because they say it mandatory and if you don’t sign it’s your bread and butter on the line

  20. What about our NIS that’s not being paid all the years it’s being deducted from our pay that’s what the have to talk about

    • Go to NIS and get an up to date of your payments if it is not up to date and they Have been deducting payments from your salary, file a report with NIS. Wicked people, exploiting the working class ,time to stop this.

    • This is the time that the workers should get together and go nis and protest etc. And expose any injustice being done ….

    • Elizabeth fox whilst part of your statement is true you should not assume that the payments were not made or stating wicked ppl exploiting int working class..what the workers need to do as stated was go to nis building and enquire and submit an enquiry…nis do make mistakes which happens not only to me but other persons i know..once the company prove they paid the nis then all the rants and allegations made on social media can be submited as deformation..ppl need to act and stop reacting..get all the proof first espically the ppl who comment without having all the facts

    • Roshan the National Workers Union has already said the workers went to NIS and discovered that payments were not made in two years for 22 employees.
      Is it that you think you’re better informed than they are?
      I’d love to know why you think you’re right and they are wrong.

    • Lasana liburd the ex employees stated such and of course if nis does not see it on their system means its not..but does not mean ir was not paid..this happened to me as i stated already and when i enqired the company provided the despoits which were taken to nis and realised as usual errors were made…again dont jump to assumptions till all facts are out there…we keep hearing one side of the coin

    • Roshan the employees did their part in checking NIS. Now the onus is on Francis Fashions to prove they are not guilty.
      Because the NIS made an error before doesn’t mean every company gets the benefit of the doubt. There is no record of it being paid at the receiving end and you cannot have it both ways.
      If NIS said it WAS paid, would you think it reasonable if employees insisted it was not paid until Francis Fashions proved their records were in sync?
      Or would you then say that the NIS records must be the important one since that is the impartial body out of these three parties?

    • Lasana liburd welcome to the conversation…right now the dismissed employees heads are hot and without finding out jumped on social media..notice the trend of comments by various ppl, all negative towards the company without even knowing if it was paid or not..btw how do you know for a fact the company did not pay the fees? Do you have that as fact? Do you know the accounts payable person and keeping information? Are you willing to out your head on a block for believeing it was not paid?..further why should the company publish against such alligations? If the company do come forward proving otherwise would it change the opinion by the various negative thinking ppl? Damage has already been done. In the end this matter is between employees, union reps and the company…note i never up to now said the company was right in their doings bc as stated without facts its all assumptions by the general public which is what have been happening….

    • Roshan, I didn’t point to any info from the workers but from the union. If the union gives misinformation, it will pay a big price for that. It is a big organization that relies on public trust and respect.
      So why do you just assume the union is lying?
      I’d give the benefit of the doubt to a body until it loses it.

    • You should blast rhem on every media der is radio fb Instagram put dem up! Teflon Don

  21. Investigative reporting at its best… keep up the good work.

  22. Not buying from Francis Fashions or any afiliated stores.

  23. We used to work hard for this company everything they asked from us we did .. more work , longer hours , work on Sundays and this is what happened when we stand up for ourselves and for what is right

    • If we weren’t strong hearted maybe we might of went down another road but we did not do that Teflon Don these people really think we would sign a contract and break the contract just like that, even self it was so 25 men with responsibilities ?!?!!!!

  24. I did not sign anything agreeing to work overtime with cadel trading limited, therefore their action of terminating my self 24 other co workers was wrongfully done, in present there are employees that are leaving the company because of the disrespect and slave master mentality from the management staff of Cadel trading limited

  25. None of the worker’s signed they try to trick us to do it .. A big company like that have the management lying to the work’s trying to trick us to do it so they can get what the want… And that so call contracts they say we signed we wud love to see it.. you know they’ll talk all kind of stuff I want them to talk about when the have us hiding stuff from the customs officer’s but the won’t talk about that

  26. Check how much outsiders working for less money

  27. Why Cadel Trading are lying when they told us “we are not allowed on the compound” and ask them for contracts we so called signed

  28. Question Wired868…. can you mandate a worker to Work overtime and not pay them in accordance to the minimum wages act……. cause this post is like you have all evidence

  29. Teflon Don… blaze this post

  30. Why should workers employed for a specific function be asked to unload containers? If they were asked to pack, sort or shelve items I could understand that. In my opinion the workers saw themselves being used by the Company in a position that was completely alien to them.

  31. D stinking dunciehead peenm firing thousands of people all over d country but I eh hearing all u mouth. Not that I am a supporter of d 1% but oh God man. Fight across d board.

  32. This sounding fishy. Either they weren’t paying the overtime or they were requiring the employees to work longer hours than they agreed to.

  33. ..Only a slave master could tell workers (slaves) they have to work longer hours and punish them if they refuse..

  34. These Syrians is d worst dey treat there workers like slaves

  35. This to me seems a variation on there employment contracts. Was the memo for information purposes or a variation to which they all signed on to ?. Is it also unreasonable to be asked to work over time for a period for the overall benefit of the business that pays you. This to me seems to be a situation that has been allowed to be blown out of proportion.

    • Well you can read over the employees’ concerns expressed in the first two emails, then check Cadel/Francis Fashions’ response.
      That’s enough to take a stab at situation anyway.

    • What ? Why The hell must I be forced to work extra because the business paying me? Staffing isn’t my issue. That’s the business issue to make sure that they are correctly staffed. I’m contracted for 9 to 5. At 5.01 I’m gone. If an employee wants to work OT then fine but not then salt for the job. Staff your business accordingly.

      Also a memo is not a collective bargaining agreement or a contract.

  36. I for one ain’t shopping there again I rather pay my extra dollars elsewhere.

  37. And you can’t force anyone to work over time they are not an essential service like the protective services

    • You cant force someone to work overtime but if its states on your letter of employment that you are required to work overtime and you sign it prior to taking up employment then you dont have a case…the memo was served as “notice” of the dates required for overtime dates and hours…procedures..

    • But it wasn’t signed in the letter of employment this was a memorandum that was circulated after them being employed and signed as being seen

    • For them to do a memorandum of the sort indicates the contract clearly don’t state the overtime. I think the problem is also none payment of overtime. Then some of the payment they offer not worth it.

  38. Im sure they didnt “agree” they signed under duress. Which is a tactic employers use. Change contract terms on the fly…and give employees an ultimatum sign or else.

  39. They just following the example of the PM…”meet meh on the pavement”..lol

  40. Lasana you feel is only @ that workplace this going on? hell no! my neighbour this time last year was working @ Payless Shoe Store Trincity Mall when they forced her to work OT, when it was pay day they did not pay her for OT, when she asked them about it they replied, “we do not pay OT here. You either want the job or you dont. In the end she just left

    • Smh. That’s a violation of labor laws right there.

    • So what does the law say about a full work day? I don’t think a memo can revoke a law, can it?

    • Oh it is. The problem is, due to the economic crisis we are in here employers are exploiting their employees, threatening to fire them if they dont work OT & other issues taking place like sexual harassment. Given this ecenomic climate employers know the job crisis & are taking full advantage of the fact. So people are staying closed mouth about some of the things going on in their work places. Some are saying, they are lucky to have a job.

    • Well the irony is the government might be abusing workers more than the private sector right now.
      Hundreds of workers or more on month to month contracts with poor working conditions and late salaries. Right in the public sector.
      It’s really a tough time right now. But the employers must remember that you can only push people so far. Nobody wants to deal with the repercussions when that line is crossed. Because it would be upheaval for the whole country.

    • that month to month has been going on years now. I have friends who working like that for about 10 years now. You think employers give a shit about doing the right thing??!! Come on!!! The impact of this crisis is still in its early stages. There is more fallout to come in the years to come.. watch and see

    • Take them to court and fight these things so they know not to do that shit with other people

    • Lasana Liburd month to month for years and when it’s time to give out long term contracts they telling you that you have to re apply for the post and be interviewed as a regular applicant….

    • Any day off is considered no pay leave. When you take the no pay leave Cus you need a break!! They penalize you for poor performance

    • Take thrm to court. Blast them . Organize boycotts of their businesses. More than one way to skin a cat.

    • They tell you the interview is a formality as you already occupying the post for so long. Never received any reprimand or disciplinary or performance letter. Been doing the job for over 4 years. Time for interviews they tell you that you were not successful….

    • Renz Pee on what grounds? There were contract breaks in between. They don’t care. None of them have a conscience. But when you put in the non paid overtime for them to “look good” and save them newspaper embarrassment they forget those times..

    • If the Govt who is the biggest employer can do that. Who is Francis fashion et al???

    • Nobody should ever do unpaid overtime. If they aren’t paying for it, ??. See y’all tomorrow. People will do what they can get away with. At my job, my employees simply walk away if the time comes for them to be done and thry don’t care if the work is done or not.. and you cannot force them. If they want the OT then they can have it, if not, find someone to cover them because 4.31 they’re gone. Labor laws work when both sides know what time it is. My employees aren’t hesitant to head to labor relations when there is an issue or they have a grievance. The govt is one thing, FF is a private business. I would run a social media campaign to boycott them. Let them lose money ??

    • I guess that’s the difference between Americans and trinis . Trinis grumble and take it. Americans grumble and head to labor to fight it.

  41. A lame excuse if ever I saw one. All that had to be done was to employ a temporary crew to offload containers and defer the money to them. After working a full day, you, with your “slavemaster’s” attitude expect a further commitment of their time and energy and when they requested an evening to go home earlier, you heartlessly dismiss them, and want to claim you were right? Where was management at the time, assisting the workers or sipping coffee? What you people do is to employ those desperately in need and bleed them to the bones. You are guilty of gross mismanagement of your human resources. Any “backlog of containers” falls on bad management and inadequate staffing. You were prepared to kill the few so you can enjoy a hearty Sunday lunch and purchase your fancy cars. A total bunch of foolish, doltish, inadequate managerial team. Putting the blame on the workers will not erase the errors of your crime.

    • Where are the facking union or ever these employers feel ounce they give you work you have to work till you drop & these union president all they do is talk bull shit collect money & don’t stand up for their contributers

    • The union would have screamed scab labour and insisted inhouse workers be used

    • Container backlogs dont necessarily mean the manager is at fault. Vessels move at a prescribed timeline and goods may be on different vessels,it is inefficiency at the port and customs that create backlogs

    • Disagree. Not if the proper dialogue was presented to them. No union, management or whoever can demand that anyone work for longer than their day shift. That is in the ILO agreement to which this country is a signed member.

    • All this talk about union. That’s why nothing gets done in good old banana republic of trinidad. Just go do the damn job that’s all. If there is a clause that says you may be required to work overtime then that’s all. They getting paid for it.

    • Lasana Liburd , I agree with you. But why accept the job. Knowing the implications later. We have a choice. Walking off the job does not make it better. They could have complied then collectively taken legal action. If what you are saying is true then they should have no problem winning their case.

    • Jason if you sign a piece of paper saying you will accept $10 a hour that doesn’t make the arrangement legal because there is a minimum that the company can pay you by law.
      Nothing you sign on a piece of paper can change the law of the country. If workers agree to give up their rights voluntarily then that’s one thing. But you cannot force them to, even if you have a signature on a piece of paper.
      As of right now, employees deny ever agreeing to that anyway.

    • People sometimes accept jobs because of desperate situations and normally these things are not discussed until a few days on the job. Yes, I do believe they could win if approached collectively.

    • Krystal Orosco – Alleyne this comment. ?

    • I think overtime is voluntary no body can force you to work overtime unless you are essentially service.

    • Lmao and they are all in breach of contract and deserved to be fired you people really don’t understand how a contract works? If I agree to do x but then I say no then I have broken the contract and have absolutely no legal grounds for a lawsuit. If you tell me they never agreed to it that’s one thing but nobody forced them to agree to the contract.

    • Ryan you cannot enforce a clause that is illegal in the first place. For instance if they agreed to work below minimum wage. It won’t matter. They could revolt at any time.
      That’s in general. In this specific case, the workers acknowledged receipt of a memo. That’s like signing for a letter from the mailman.
      It doesn’t mean you accept the terms of whatever is in that letter to me.
      I’m not a lawyer eh. But that’s how I read that.

    • These people are so rich. Late containers shouldn’t be the issue. The issue is: they did this to their workers because they can.

    • Lasana but what they are agreeing to is not illegal it’s just specific work. They are not being asked to do anything illegal plenty people work overtime and do not get paid at all. Also I have worked where overtime is mandatory and you aren’t paid for it but it’s a norm in the industry. These people are being compensated for their overtime and it’s only for a limited period there’s nothing illegal about it. Also once they sign the contract it’s understood that they are aware of what is required and agree to it , if they read the contract is another story. Also working overtime is not illegal that’s like saying instead of your shift being 9-4 it’s now 9-5 they’re plenty of people who work longer than normal shifts.

    • What foolishness are you trying to tell me, sir? Overtime is mandatory, without pay and is the norm of the industry? So neglect your health and work like an ass to benefit a company that is not yours? Is that what you suggesting to me and the reading public? Yoy ever read the ILO rules of which we are a member? Overtime cannot be mandatory. Once a worker does his required hours any overtime is at the worker’s discretion and he cannot be dismissed if he chooses not to work. Why not employ a temporary crew to handle what I perceive as a management oversight. As you said, there are many out there who need something to do. But instead of doing that, the same workers who already performed their duties are corraled into overtime because it is more beneficial to the company financially. I am truly taken aback by such thinking and wonder whether you are part of the managerial system and looking to make excuses. A very poor one at that!

    • Ryan your employer pulled one on you. By International labour Law, overtime can never be mandatory.

    • If you all think so then go ahead sure I guarentee you they signed the contract and were aware of what they signed they breached the contract they are fired this won’t hold up in court. If they didn’t sign the contract and were fired that’s an easy case of wrongful dismissal. Nobody forced them to sign the contract they are liable for breach of contract and deserved to be fired.

    • You read the contract? You know for sure what’s included? Even if, for the sake of discussion they signed a clause similar to: ” the company expects you to work overtime when necessary” That is illegal. What is defined as “necessary” What happens in a case of a sick and they are needed to be home? Regardless of your interpretations, I believe that with proper council the company shall lose their case.

  42. Trust an employer to lie about their abuse of woeker’s rights? I should hope not.

  43. I had a meeting yesterday where management tried playing smart and changing the meaning of ‘complaint’. They preferred ‘concerns’. Why?

    Because ‘complaint’ required the employer to follow strict procedural protocols, whereas (in their opinion) ‘concerns’ do not.

    Playing smart with chupidness, which is what Hadeed is doing here.

  44. Rose-Marie, I was just told by a worker that they got a memo informing them that they had to work an extra hour. And that, allegedly, was that.

  45. That account of what transpired sounds like fake news. Why would workers refuse to come inside for a meeting and choose to stay on the pavement?? People don’t show up for work to spend the day outside. Especially when their jobs are tenuous. And 3 times they did this? I’m scratching my head here. And since when is acknowledging receipt of a letter the same as agreeing to the contents?