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Hotel Union Clashes With Resort Bosses

Union Unrest (2)

In addition to having to cope with a serious culture clash, executives of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) alleged Tuesday that their members also have now cope with racism from the managers of the new Melia Nassau Beach Hotel.

BHCAWU President Nicole Martin, flanked by a number of union supporters, marched on the Cable Beach property to discuss union matters at the new resort, but they and workers around the hotel said they have come to realise that their new bosses have an old school way of handling business.

Ms. Martin said since this new management has taken over the former Sheraton Hotel, things have just not been the same and claimed that the management style of the new executive body is more militant and foreign.

She even claimed that the hotel property’s managers are trying to see to it that restrooms are not shared.

“The general manager as we know it is telling people we shouldn’t be at the pool and shouldn’t be on the property,” Ms. Martin added. “I am even told that the taxi drivers are being told that they can’t use the bathrooms in the hotel.”

There are at least two taxi drivers who are backing up that claim.

They both spoke to The Journal on condition of anonymity, fearful that their jobs night be in danger. But according to the sources ever since the new resort was placed under new management things have felt segregated.

“They look like they don’t like black people. That’s my perception,” one female taxi driver said.

“I was one of the first ones they saw walk to the bathroom and one of the new female managers told the bellman not to let us use the bathroom and then they made it official and told the security. It is apparent that they still think they are in South America or we are Mexicans and they think they can do anything to Bahamians. We need legislation in place for foreign that protects the rights of Bahamians. We can’t pee outside.”

“It seems like what they are trying to do is bring back the old times, the old colonial years that we did away with 40 years ago,” another taxi driver added. “If it isn’t racism it’s close to that. Maybe most of their hotels are far from the US; the way they run it we don’t run it like that in the modern world. Everybody should have equal rights.”

The drivers said the mere fact that they patronise the sundry stores and restaurants in the hotel should give them the right to use the facilities.

Ms. Martin said she and some of her union executives went to the hotel Tuesday morning to console their members after two of their managers were recently fired and to put them at ease as they said they are finding it difficult to work under their new bosses.

When the Journal arrived on the scene shortly after 10:30 Tuesday morning at least six armed police officers were on the site.

They were called in to escort Ms. Martin and her team off the property.

“I went up to the manager’s office and his secretary told me that he would be out shortly,” Ms. Martin added. “So for the longest I sat in the conference room and the next thing I know the security was called in to have us escorted off, but I told them that we were not leaving.”

“Then they called in Baha Mar’s security chief who told us we needed to leave but he tried to pacify the situation. Later they told us that the police were on their way and true to form the police showed up.”

In fact, she added that the relationship between the two sides has gotten progressively worse as the managers have refused to sit down with them for meetings to chart the way forward.

However, hotel executives advised that they did meet with the managers of Melia on Tuesday in a four-hour long meeting.

They said they were not able to iron out all of the issues and a second meeting is planned for today at 2:00 p.m.

Vice President of Government and External Affairs Robert Sands declined an interview on the matter but did note that he has “every confidence in the management team at Melia.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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