10 December 2001 11:05 [Source: ICIS news]
BRUSSELS (CNI)--Eleven employees at the Feluy, Belgium chemicals site of BP Chembel who were sacked in mid October are suing their ex-employer for alleged wrongful dismissal.
They have served a writ with the works tribunal court in Charleroi, CNI learned on Monday. A preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place on 12 December.
A spokesman for BP Chembel said it was too early to predict the outcome of Wednesday’s hearing. He added that the company is in talks with its lawyers regarding future proceedings.
However, it seems likely that if the tribunal upholds the claims of the eleven former employees, BP Chembel will appeal.
Ten blue-collar workers were sacked for gross misconduct after refusing to obey orders relating to the management of a production incident, sparking an eight-day strike. A further three operators were sacked for violent conduct during the strike.
Two of the sacked workers were union representatives who were subsequently reinstated following a works tribunal ruling. BP Chembel is currently pursuing an appeal at the Works Court in Mons, which is scheduled to take place in March 2002.
BP Chembel is currently involved in negotiations with workers and trade union representatives about the implementation of a restructuring plan, called Genesis, which involves cutting 70 jobs at the site. However, BP Chembel management recently agreed to reduce the cuts to 60 jobs.
Workers at the Feluy site expect Genesis negotiations to be concluded before the Christmas break.
(Joanna Kesteven in London contributed to this story.)
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