Bain and Williams-Taylor v Island Hotel Company Ltd

JurisdictionBahamas
CourtSupreme Court
JudgeCumberbatch, D.R.,Deputy Registrar
Judgment Date16 Aug 2010
Docket NumberCOM/lab No. 1 of 2009; COM/lab No. 130 of 2008

Supreme Court

Cumberbatch, Deputy Registrar

COM/lab No. 1 of 2009; COM/lab No. 130 of 2008

Bain and Williams-Taylor
and
Island Hotel Company Limited
Appearances:

Mr. Ferron Bethel with Miss. Paula Adderley for the applicant/defendant.

Mr. Obie Ferguson with Miss. Lakesha Strachan for the respondents/plaintiffs.

Employment law - Claim for breach of contract of employment — Collective agreement — Finding that where terms of a collective agreement are incorporated into an individual contract of employment the terms of the collective agreement remain binding whether in existence or not — Order that actions be stayed pending the outcome of the arbitration process pursuant to the collective agreement.

Cumberbatch, D.R.
1

Writs were filed on behalf of Lisa Williams — Taylor and Paulette J. Bain on 19 November 2008 and 6 January 2009 respectively, claiming breaches of their contracts of employment, remuneration including gratuities and overtime pay, benefits, damages, interest and costs, and asking for orders giving an accounting for gratuities earned within the relevant period. The alleged causes of action arose on 12 November 2008.

2

The defendant entered appearances in both actions, and on 15 January 2009 made application for a stay pursuant to section 5 of the Arbitration Act, CAP 180. No defence was filed, nor was any further step taken prior to the making of the instant application. The parties agreed that the applications made and responded to would be on behalf of the aforementioned plaintiffs, and that this decision would apply to the applications for stay also made in actions 2008/COM/lab/00131, 2008/COM/lab/00133, 2008/COM/lab/00134, 2008/COM/iab/00135, 2008/COM/lab/00136, 2008/COM/lab/00137, 2008/COM/lab/00144, 2009/COM/lab/00010 and 2009/COM/lab/00037.

3

The defendant contends that the Collective Bargaining Agreement [C.B.A.] dated 7 January 2003 between the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union [B.H.C.A.W.U.] and the Bahamas Hotel Employers' Association [B.H.E.A.] governs the contractual relationship between the parties, and thus the arbitration clause contained in the agreement requires the parties to refer limited disputes to private binding arbitration. The C.B.A. expired on 6 January 2008, and the parties signed letter dated 31 January 2008 agreeing to extend its terms and conditions “until we conclude our current 2008 Industry Negotiations”.

4

The defendant submits that the terms of the plaintiffs' employment are governed by section 45 of the C.B.A which provides for private binding arbitration to resolve limited trade disputes as defined therein in section 45.4, and by summonses filed 15 January 2009 applied to stay the proceedings commenced by writ. The defendant contends that the matters alleged in the Writ...

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