Bata Shoe Company Jamaica Ltd v The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union


Industrial Dispute Tribunal

Martin, C.; Holness, R.; White, R.

IDT 2 of 1976

Bata Shoe Company Jamaica Limited
The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union

Labour Law - Industrial Disputes — Strike Action — Remuneration During Strike

Labour Law - Contract of Employment — Contractual Right to Search Employees


The Honourable Minister of Labour and employment by letter dated 8 th January, 1976, in accordance with section 11 of the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act, 1975, referred to the Tribunal for settlement, an industrial dispute between Bata Shoe Company and its production workers represented by the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union,


The Terms of Reference to the Tribunal were as follows –

“To determine and settle the dispute between Bata Shoe Company employed by the Company and represented by the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union on the other hand arising out of the physical search o the said workers on the 18 th December, 1975, at the instruction of the Company, which resulted in the partial cessation of the Company's operations commencing on the 19 th December, 1975”.


The division of the Tribunal selected in accordance with section 8(2) of the Act to hear the dispute was –

Dr. John Martin


Mr. Noel Holness

Employers' Representative

Mr. Darrel White

Workers' Representative


The Employer was represented by –

Mr. Ashton Wright (Legal)

Mr. A.C. Whiting

Mr. N. Smart

Mr. K. Sarna

Mr. Lloyd Smith


The Trade Union was represented by –

Mr. Lascelles Beckford

Several Worker/Delegates


Witnesses called were –

Miss Hilda Prince

Miss Ivylin Shaw

Miss Blanch Nembhard

Mr. D.L. Freeman

Woman Constable Verona Rodney

Acting Woman Corporal Muriel Thomas

Acting Woman Corporal Lola Evans

Mr. Neville Smart


Written briefs were submitted by the parties and oral submissions were made at the seven sittings held between the 2 nd March and the 12 th May, 1976.


The Union contended that –

  • (1) The type or search that was carried out on female production workers at the Bata Shoe Company, Spanish Town Road, on December 18, 1975 was humiliating and embarrassing.

  • (2) The Union had no objection to the customary searching of bags and cars.

  • (3) In an attempt to resolve the issue, the Union requested that the Personnel Officer involved should apologise to the workers and should not have any physical contact with them until the matter was resolved.

  • (4) The workers should be paid for the duration of the stoppage December 19, 1975 — January 4, 1976.


The Company argued that it has suffered substantial losses over the years, much of which have been attributed to thefts. Specifically, leather valuing $1,200.00 was missing on the 15 th December, 1975. Ten — twelve pairs of shoes were reported missing on the morning of the 18 th December, 1975. Arising from this latter incident, the Company decided that...

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