Accra Brewery former plant manager sues company
A former Plant Manager of Accra Brewery Limited (ABL) has dragged the company to court over what she terms as wrongful termination of her employment.
In a writ filed at the Labour Division of the Accra High Court, Joycelyn Twum–Barima, is making a case that after serving the company for 17 years, ABL terminated her employment without recourse to the law and the collective bargaining agreement of the company.
The plaintiff, therefore, wants the court to order ABL to pay her damages for the termination of her employment or alternatively, a redundancy package in line with the collective bargaining agreement.
She is further seeking damages for hardship, embarrassment, psychological and emotional trauma which she claims to have suffered as a result of the termination of her employment by ABL.
In its defence, ABL has denied wrongfully terminating the plaintiff’s employment.
Rather, the company argues that it decided to move the plaintiff from her position as the Plant Manager to Product Development Specialist, but the plaintiff refused to work and also refused other options offered her.
“Following plaintiff’s refusal to return to work or accept any of the options, the defendant terminated plaintiff’s employment in accordance with defendant’s conditions of service and paid her salary in lieu of notice”, the company stated in its statement of defence.
The company has also filed a counter claim, seeking an order of the court directed at the plaintiff to return an official vehicle, laptop and mobile phone ABL gave her during her employment.
In a 42- paragraph statement of claim detailing her case, the plaintiff said she started working at ABL in 2006 as an intern and by dint of hard work and dedication, was offered permanent employment the same year.
According to the statement of claim, she was promoted to numerous managerial positions, including Laboratory Manager and Brewing Manager until her appointment as the first female Plant Manager of ABL in December 2021.
The plaintiff said ABL made a big media splash about her appointment as the first female Plant Manager, including a publication in the Daily Graphic.
It is her case that on May 29, 2022, she was told that the company was facing problems in the Packaging Unit and ,therefore, she would be replaced as the Plant Manager.
She said ABL then told her to go back to her previous position –Brewing Manager, but she refused because that was a demotion.
Again, she said on July 1, 2022, she was offered a new position as the Product Development Specialist with the same salary as Plant Manager for two years, after which she would revert the conditions of the new position.
“Plaintiff avers that in her response on July 5, 2022 she stated why she could not accept the job change, which was a demotion,” the statement of claim stated.
Afterwards, the plaintiff averred that ABL told her to proceed on leave from July 18, 2022 and wait for a discussion on mutual separation.
It is the case of the plaintiff that, ABL’s decision to engage in mutual separation discussions with her meant that the company had rendered her redundant for which she ought to be given a full redundancy package.
According to her, the supposed mutual separation discussion was an imposition of what she described as harsh terms by ABL and not a redundancy package as stipulated by the collective bargaining agreement of the company.
“The mutual separation discussion was an imposition of defendant’s term of separation with a very abusive package of three months’ salary and one-month salary in lieu of notice for plaintiff’s 17 years of service,” the statement of case said.
In its defence, ABL is of the contention that it had the right to deploy employees to any sector of its operations as it deems fit.