Daily Post reported that Capital FM107 staff testified in court this week against their former employer alleging that he failed to settle their entitlements payout during their employment with the radio station.
The article published on Friday the 9th of August, 2019, stated, the two-day trial was held this week in the Supreme Court involving 15 staff, six of whom are no longer with the company. Two of the claimants are currently employed by Trading Post Ltd, which operates BUZZ FM.
The report says the former FM107 staff sought relief of more than Vt19.8 million to be paid by Grand Isle Holdings Limited Trading as Pacific Advisory, First Defendant and Glen Craig, Second Defendant in the Civil Case No. 2685 of 2017.
The first and second defendant were engaged as receivers by ANZ Bank who took the ‘Number one Radio hit station’ off its former boss Saby Natonga over a failed security agreement.
ANZ appeared as the third defendant in this case.
Glenda Willie from Daily Post wrote that the claimants are 16 current and former employees of the company. They alleged that their termination by Grand Isle Holdings Limited Trading as Pacific Advisory, First Defendant and Glen Craig, Second Defendant was in breach to the Employment Act.
The report also points out that the Claimants’ demands include no payout of their severance entitlements and as well as holiday leave.
The former FM107 staff also claimed their termination were in breach of the Employment Act, as they were not provided with or given three months’ notice prior to their termination. They believed that the actions of the First and Second Defendants were “so offensive to the Claimants that they are entitled to a multiplier of 4 on their severance entitlements, pursuant to s56(4) of the Act.”
When the First and Second Defendants took over as the receiver, their role was to manage the radio station and find a buyer.
The claimants’ employment with Saby Natonga Trading as Capitol FM107 ended on February 2017.
Mr. Craig wrote a letter to the employees dated April 5 2017 and included at the bottom of the letter, “I acknowledge that this payment is full and final settlement of all my employment entitlements due for my time of employment/activities at Capitol FM107, since commencement up until the 28th February 2017.”
Below the note, Craig had the employees sign off.
Mr. Craig admitted during cross-examination that he deliberately include the clause at the bottom of the letter.
He also admitted that he was not aware that including such a clause and having the employees sign off might have breached the Employment Act.
The staff believed that signing off from the letter limited their rights to claim any future entitlements.
During the two-day trial, the staff confirmed they received a letter of termination along with a cheque, but were not satisfied with what they received.
Daily Post reported that Mr. Craig said when he was engaged with the radio station, there were poor records of the station history, but he admitted that he did not specify that in his first two sworn statements of defense and his failed struck-out application earlier.
He told the court that he received fees for acting as a receivership at an amount of approximately Vt6m. When cross-examined, Mr Craig admitted that he had issued a separate invoice for Vt2.1 million separately for selling the business through his associate real estate agent.
The counsels were given 14 days to prepare and make their submissions.
Source Daily Post Vanuatu.