Categorized | Featured, National News

Hard Rock Workers Locked Out

After weeks of speculation and swirling rumours about the fate of the company, 33 employees of Hard Rock Café learned yesterday that the company’s local franchise had immediately seized operations leaving the workers uncertain about whether they will be given any form of a severance package.

The employees said they were informed Monday evening that there would be an emergency meeting early Tuesday morning where they would be addressed by attorneys representing the Hard Rock Café Bahamas and its liquidators.

But upon arriving at work yesterday the employees, many of whom were clad in their uniforms, met locks placed on the doors prohibiting them entry into the establishment.

Outside, workers waited most of the morning for word from the company as to what will happen going forward and whether they would be given severance packages.

One of the employees produced a document notarised in the Cayman Islands dated March 31 which explained that the company’s operations in The Bahamas had ended with effect on that date and it named Paul Andy Gomez of Grant Thornton as its liquidator.

Late Tuesday, Hard Rock Café kitchen manager Lafornia Rolle told the Journal that the workers were told by Mr. Gomez that he is waiting to be advised from the company’s shareholders about whether the employees will be directly paid their severance packages immediately or after the liquidation process is complete.

However, she said eventually the owners returned a decision advising that they were not in a position to immediately pay the employees.

Hard Rock Café Bahamas is owned by Keith and Kevin Doyle and Robert Frankell.

In addition to the local franchise, they also operate a location in the Cayman Islands.

“This just doesn’t make sense, these people used to tell us all the time in meetings that this location was keeping Cayman Islands afloat,” said Hard Rock Café Bahamas employee Carla Bellot. “We heard all the time that this place was making profits like $4 million and $4.5 million and now we show up here this morning and learn that our jobs are gone and we’re left with nothing. That is simply unfair.”

It has been reported that the closure stems from a dispute between local franchise owners and Hard Rock’s parent company.

“They knew this was coming and all they had to do was simply warn us,” said employee Nekia Hield, adding that, “many of us have been here since the day this restaurant opened its doors in this country. We should have the opportunity to make provisions for our lives.”

Hard Rock Bahamas first opened in The Bahamas back in 2003 under the company name Habaco Limited, but a year later the company’s official name became HRC Bahamas though ownership never changed.

Calls to the attorney for Hard Rock went unanswered up to press time.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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