Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Cammell Laird made to pay up over unfair dismissal

Chief Justice Derek Schofield has confirmed an award of £16,255.09 made by the Industrial Tribunal to an ex-employee of Cammell Laird.

The employee, Portuguese national Julio Alves had complained that within a week of his dismissal and before his notice had expired other men were being employed as labourers in the yard.

Mr Alves’ counsel, Charles Gomez, had successfully argued at the Industrial Tribunal chaired by James Levy QC that this amounted to an unfair dismissal. Dismissing Cammell Laird's appeal Chief Justice Derek Schofield said that it must be inequitable for an employer to lay off an employee when at the same time it was taking on outside employees to do the same work. He said “most certainly it is in the interest of Cammell Laird to have as large a workforce available to it with the greatest degree of flexibility of recruitment and dismissal as is possible. But the interests of the workers demand that flexibility does not lead to unfairness. The Chairman was right to point out that the Appellant should have had a system of communication between the departments in place so that a worker was not dismissed when there was alternative work available to him”.
The Chief Justice accepted Mr Gomez’ submission that a number of technical points raised by Cammell Laird's lawyer, Nicholas Cruz, did not apply to the case. The Company was also ordered to pay Mr Alves’ legal costs.

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