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Apr 18, 2012

Mayan King Firings to be heard at CCJ

The second appeal from Belize going before the Caribbean Court of Justice is scheduled to be heard on Thursday morning in Barbados. The case dates back as far as June 2001, when Mayan King Limited fired Jose Reyes, Oscar Maradiaga, Julio Hernandez, Cornelio Gutierrez, Emilina Rivera and Rigoberto Maldonado from its banana farms in the south. The six disgruntled workers took the matter to the Supreme Court on the grounds that their termination was discriminatory and illegal since it went against the provisions of the Trade Unions and Employers’ Organizations Act. Round one was a victory for the employees, who were each awarded seventy thousand dollars by Justice Samuel Awich on July twentieth, 2009. Justice Awich, in his ruling, determined that the terminations were an act of union busting and breached the employee’s constitutional rights. That decision was later appealed by Mayan King. The Court of Appeal then found that there was sufficient evidence to prove that the dismissals went against the Trade Unions and Employers’ Organizations Act. But the Appeal judges were not convinced that the workers’ rights were breached and reduced the award to thirty thousand dollars each, which covers compensation for injury to pride or feelings and loss of earnings for one year. Mayan King, however, is further appealing to the CCJ on the grounds that a person cannot be awarded damages for injury to feelings. The company is also arguing that the one year period for the loss of earnings was arbitrarily selected without evidence. Leave to pursue the appeal was granted in March, 2011.

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