The five hundred and fifty-one (551) former employees of International Construction and Engineering Incorporated (ICE) will now find it difficult to collect a judgment in the amount of US$255,307.07 against Bea Mountain Mining Company (BMMC).
The reason is that BMMC’s management has refused to accept the ruling of the National Labor Court holding the company responsible to pay over US$255K as salaries and other benefits to the employees.
The BMMC has therefore taken the matter to the Supreme Court for final determination, which may take several months for the court to say whether or not the BMCC should pay the aggrieved workers their benefits.
The court record alleges that before BMMC appealed to the Supreme Court, the BMMC and ICE, in 2014, entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the latter to allow the employees to work at the Bea site in Grand Cape Mount County.
While the employees were implementing the BMMC’s contract in the designated county, ICE left the country without settling the workers’ salaries and other benefits.
When the employees noticed that ICE’s management had departed the country, they decided to abandon the Grand Cape Mount County site; however, BMMC assured them of their preparedness to pay their remaining salaries and benefits.
To actualize their commitment, the document claims that BMMC commenced payment of previous salary arrears for the months of June and July 2014, with the payment of their regular salaries for the month of August of the same year, which was referred to as ‘hardship allowance.’
BMMC, however, decided not to commit itself to the agreement by refusing to pay the workers’ balance of over US$255K.
BMMC’s refusal prompted the employees to first level a complaint against the management with the Labor Ministry assigned Grand Cape Mount County Hearing Officer, Philip G. Williams.
After listening to the parties, Williams ruled against BMMC and ordered that it pays the employees US$255,307.07, which judgment BMCC rejected and took to the National Labor Court.
However, the Labor Court confirmed William’s ruling and demanded that BMMC pay the workers their just benefits, a judgment the mining company again rejected, and subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court.