President of the Sanctuary Trade Union, Devant Maharaj, has announced that a pre-action protocol letter has been sent to the management of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) over the dismissal of staff at the Centre for Education Program (CEP) on May 11.
In a release issued on Thursday, Maharaj said given the “factual matrix” surrounding the termination of the UTT employees, the union is calling on the Administration of UTT to:
1 Revoke the letters of dismissal given to the employees
2 Immediately Reinstate the dismissed Employees
3 Award Damages and Legal Costs incurred
4 Cease any actions aimed at dismissal of employees pending discussion with the employees and their trade union representative.
The UTT’s Administration has until 3 pm on Friday to “favourably” respond. Failure to do so will result in the affected employees taking legal action without further notice.
According to the release, the Program Leader for the CEP distributed letters of termination to certain employees and advised others that they would soon receive their dismissal letters. The statement noted that according to the letter, the decision to terminate lecturers was taken as part of a “restructuring exercise” and that dismissed lecturers were being sent home because of redundancy.
“It is abundantly clear that there was no consistent criteria or rationale used to select those persons who were chosen to be terminated. The Union’s position is that the dismissal of these hard-working employees was arbitrary, lacked process, lacked transparency and was without a clearly defined criterion. Further, natural justice principles and/or principles of good industrial relations were not afforded to these lecturers particularly since they were not provided with an opportunity to be heard. Dismissal by what can only be described as ‘the UTT guillotine’ was swift, discriminatory, inconsistent and contrary to internationally accepted ILO Conventions and established Industrial Relations practices,” Maharaj said.
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