Firm wanted staff to quit, court hears

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 12:00am

A firm hoped to encourage its MTR-cleaning staff to quit by transferring them to other sites after learning it had lost the MTR contract, a court heard yesterday.

Chan Chi-hung SC told the Court of First Instance that his clients - Fong Mung-yan, Lau Sui-lan and Cheung Chung-sim - were part of a group of cleaning workers sacked by ISS Hong Kong Services Ltd in December 2001.

Ninety-eight sacked staff have gone to court to appeal against the Labour Tribunal's rejection of claims for severance pay.

Mr Chan said his clients - who would have qualified for severance pay if laid off - were expected to resign to take up job offers with the MTR's new cleaning firm.

ISS was told in October 2001 that its MTR contract would be terminated on December 1, 2001. In November, it told its workers they were being transferred. The 98 were summarily dismissed in December 2001 for refusing the transfers to sites where Mr Chan said there was no need for them.

They took ISS to the Labour Tribunal seeking severance pay and attendance bonuses - $10,000 to $15,000 per worker - but the case was rejected in January 2003.

The hearing continues before Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon today.