Categorized | National News

Former City Market Employees Demand Pay

Unfair, disgraceful and criminal were the resounding words used to describe what has been summed up as an injustice levied against hundreds of former City Market employees who are still waiting to receive their severance and pension packages.

These employees said they are now at their wits end.

It has been over two years since more than 300 workers were laid off by the parent company, Bahamas Supermarkets Limited, yet over $5 million in severance and pension pay have not been paid.

City Market’s former Chief Inventory Auditor and spokesperson for those employees Whanslaw Turnquest said enough is enough.

“The aforesaid company entered into voluntary suspension leaving a trail of breached of laws, unethical behaviour, total disregard of labour laws and its legal and financial responsibility and obligation required by law,” he said.

“After numerous attempts to come to an understanding with the operators of Bahamas Supermarket Limited and their representatives we find ourselves at irreconcilable differences, all attempts to ensure fair and equitable dealings came to a complete halt.”

Mr. Turnquest’s comments came during a press conference on Friday at Great Commission Ministries where chairman of the advocacy group Citizens for Justice Bishop Walter Hanchell announced that his organisation would help to up the ante to get what is owed to the workers.

“These people have actually been defrauded of what is rightfully theirs, they’re being defrauded of their severance pay, pension money, benefits and it’s disgraceful and shameful what is being allowed to happen in this country,” he said.

“I’m calling on the minister of labour and the prime minister to intervene in this matter, there is no justice in this country, and I’m going to stand and fight with them until they get what’s rightfully due to them.”

Those irate employees, some who were employed with the company for more than 30 years also vented their frustrations at that press conference.

“I’m very hurt, distressed, in pain, angry, feel like I can explode and kill the world right now if I had a gun, I have three young children, mortgage to pay, lost my car – I need someone to tell me who is going to take my responsibility to look after my family, I can’t do it,” Glenville Scavella said.

“The cost of living is so high so we need all the money that’s due to us so that I can be able to do something for myself because I’m still unemployed and I want to go into business and I would like to have all the money that is owed to me so that I can move forward,” Angela Collie said.

“Why have we come to this level where City Market staff members have to wait over two years for their money, many of them have mortgage, many of them have house bills, and all the equities that are apart of life, if they don’t get it, especially if they don’t have a job at this moment how are they going to make it,” Michael Clarke asked.

“All we’re asking is for the respective owners to be honest, upfront and give us our money.”

Also at the press conference was Kurt Thompson who is now advocating for his deceased brother Brentwood Thompson who left behind two children, he said that Thompson had worked to City Market for nearly 40 years.

The employees were laid off in 2012 when the food store chain went belly up.

Bahamas Supermarket Limited had offered a $2 million severance package but the employees rejected that offer.

The employees demand to be paid in full and they are now prepared to take their plea to the international courts if the matter is not resolved.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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