Categorized | National News

PM Knew Of Wyndham Layoffs

Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday admitted that he had a discussion with Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian prior to 140 workers being laid off from the Wyndham Nassau Resort.

The workers were given their walking papers on Friday.

“I indicated to them last week that I spoken to Mr. Izmirlian before he left The Bahamas on business matters and he had spoken very frankly to me about the position,” Mr. Christie told reporters before heading into his weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

“I had relayed that to my government and the minister responsible for labour, who in turn had the opportunity to speak about that to the president of the hotel union. When they came to my office I met with a significant number of executives and spoke to them about the position and indicated that the discussion I had had, led me to believe that it was a definitive position taken by the management but that in any event I would seek a meeting with Mr. Izmirlian upon his return to discuss the Wyndham and the Sheraton moving forward.”

The prime minister said he has already requested a meeting with the Baha Mar CEO, which should happen before the end of the week.

“The government cannot interfere with decisions of employers when they make those kinds of decisions,” Prime Minister Christie said.

“You saw that with the 800 workers from Atlantis a few years ago. What we are able to do, though, is sit with employers to try to understand the basis for their decisions and it will give us a greater understanding of an industry where more protection should be put in place for workers so that there is sufficient notice given to enable them to prepare for what could be a disastrous outcome. We are also going to take certain steps in the Ministry of Labour to make it stronger to deal with the unemployed and to introduce more selective targeting for employment for those unemployed by City Market and the 140 from the Wyndham.”

The prime minister also told reporters that he was led to believe that certain layoffs were contemplated for the Sheraton.

“I was told that an effort would be made not to have that happen,” he said.

“It’s an outcome that I’m happy about because it hasn’t happened.”

Mr. Christie said his government will continue to monitor layoffs generally throughout the country.

“The fact of the matter is that the government must continue to work at strengthening its relationship with investors and developers,” he said.

“The law is the law. It enables them to take certain action if they feel it necessary for the survival of their property. The government has to put in place, I think, certain provisions that will give greater protection to workers in those circumstances and that must be our focus moving forward.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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