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Compensate former staff - CHRAJ directs GCB Bank

BY: Caroline Boateng
 Joseph Whittal
Joseph Whittal

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has directed the GCB Bank to compensate 76 former members of staff of the bank with three month’s net salary at the current salaries for each of the grades they were on before the termination of their contracts.

Per the orders of CHRAJ, the GCB must compensate the sacked workers within three months of CHRAJ’s decision, which was dated June 20, this year and signed by the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Joseph Whittal.

The complainants are former members of staff of the defunct UT Bank and Capital Bank who became the responsibility of the GCB Bank which, on August 14, 2017, assumed the operations of the two banks under a Purchase and Assumption Agreement (PAA) after the operating licences of the two banks (UT Bank and Capital Bank) were revoked by the Bank of Ghana.

English and Mathematics

The GCB sacked the workers for not having passes in Mathematics and English Language on their examination certificates.

In its findings of fact, CHRAJ said, among others, that the complainants were not given prior notice that failure to obtain credit passes in English and Mathematics would be the basis for the termination of their appointments.

It further directed that the affected members of staff who entered tertiary institutions as mature students should be considered for re-instatement because they did not require passes in English and Mathematics, after passing the entrance examination to those tertiary institutions.

The commission further said former members of staff who had rewritten the Mathematics and English papers and passed and submitted their results to the GCB Bank should also be considered for re-appointment by the bank.

The decision by CHRAJ applied to two separate cases filed by the former workers — Eleanor Tettey and 36 others, and Sandra Dede Kumi and 38 others.

According to CHRAJ, the workers deserved to be compensated for the manner in which they were treated.

“They should be compensated for the traumatic experience of losing their jobs when they had a legitimate expectation of being in the employment of the respondent after successfully passing all checks and being issued appointment letters and confirmation letters after they had worked for the requisite period of probation,” it held.

Case

On May 29, 2019, a labour consultant, Seth Abloso, lodged a complaint on behalf of Ms Eleanor Tettey and 36 others, whose appointments had been terminated by the GCB Bank.

The complainants alleged discrimination and unfair and wrongful termination of appointment by the bank.

The reliefs sought included a declaration to the effect that the probation and issuance of new appointment letters, the reduction of salaries and the termination of their appointments were wrongful and in breach of their collective bargaining agreement.

They, thus, petitioned CHRAJ to direct the GCB Bank to pay compensation to all the affected ex-staff.

On April 23, 2021, another petition, Kumi and 38 others and the GCB Bank, was lodged, seeking the same reliefs as the previous case.

CHRAJ decided to stay investigations into the latter case and apply decisions arrived at in the Eleanor Tettey and 36 others v the GCB Bank to it.

It served the complaint on the respondent, the GCB Bank, for its comments, in line with the rules of natural justice.

Investigations

Beginning with its investigations, CHRAJ reviewed the GCB Bank’s responses, together with the statement and affidavit sworn by Tettey on behalf of the 37 others, together with 14 other documents.

In accordance with regulations Six and Seven of the CHRAJ (Investigations Procedure) Regulations 2010 (C.I. 67), the commission held 19 hearings after the review of documents.

It also interviewed an official of the National Accreditation Board to have an appreciation of the requirements for admission to various tertiary institutions.

From all that, CHRAJ gleaned seven issues to be answered in arriving at its decision.

The issues included whether the complainants should be reinstated by the respondents and also whether the complainants were entitled to compensation.

It applied the 1992 Constitution, the CHRAJ Act 1993 (Act 456), the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651), the collective agreement between the GCB Bank (Local Union) and the Union of Industry, Commerce and Finance Workers of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) in arriving at the decision.