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What did Justice Abel tell the Unions to do? Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 19 October 2017 00:00

Over the past couple of weeks there has been much chatter about the BNTU and the PSU refusing to abide by a court order issued against them. The unions were taken to court by persons who had their salaries frozen between 1994-1997 and were given shares in BTL as compensation. Since then the beneficiaries have not been able to receive any benefits from the trust which was established by the unions in 2014. For clarity we print some excerpts of the judgement to shed some light as to what needs to be done to make amends with the beneficiaries.

[177] This court has concluded that GOB never intended to benefit the Unions, as distinct to certain of its members, with the BTL Shares; and indeed never intended for the Unions to dispose of such shares in its absolute discretion. For this Court to come to a conclusion that GOB intended to benefit the Unions, qua Unions, this Court considers that the evidence would have had to be somewhat clearer than, and not as equivocal, as it is. This Court has therefore unhesitatingly determined, that in all the circumstance of the case, the evidence more points to GOB intending to benefit only the public servants affected by the increment freeze.

[178] This Court has also concluded that, consistent with the clear and settled law as it has determined it to be, that unless and until the workers affected by the increment freeze, indicate that they are prepared to share the BTL shares with other workers unaffected by the increment freeze, it does not lie in the power of the Unions, GOB, or indeed this Court, to extend such benefits to such unaffected workers.

[186] This court agrees with the submissions of the Claimants that indeed the Unions, as legally existing bodies, had the capacity to own and to legally transfer the BTL shares and the dividends derived from it, but not being the beneficial owners of such shares and dividends, the Unions did not have the legal capability of creating a trust of these shares and dividends. The public servants affected by the increment freeze, being the beneficial owners of such shares and dividends, remain the beneficial owners at all times of such shares and as such and are the persons capable of creating a further trust of such shares and dividends.

[187] It follows from the determination which this Court has reached above that this Court has concluded that the true objects or purpose of the various trusts, including the Trust, was to compensate and to benefit the public sector workers who had been affected by the increment freeze, and not any other public sector workers.

[188] It also follows from the determination which this Court has reached that the true beneficiaries of the various trusts, including the Trust, were the public sector workers who had been affected by the increment freeze, and not any other, or indeed all public sector workers.

[190] It follows from the determinations reached above and the conclusions arrived at to the various questions which have been answered, that the Unions should be ordered to account to the Claimants for their handling of the BTL shares and the dividends arising therefrom and be ordered to recover any monies or funds invested.