A member of The Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) yesterday cast doubt that there will be any reprieve for the nearly 200 employees of the Crystal Palace Hotel who were displaced Friday following a major lay off exercise.
Dave Beckford blames the union for allowing the workers to meet this fate by not ensuring that the union’s industrial agreement with Baha Mar was properly registered.
On Friday, some 190 workers were informed that their positions were now redundant.
He said despite all the grandstanding from the BHCAWU in particular, its President Nicole Martin, following the layoffs of 140 Wyndham employees more than a year ago, to date those workers have still not been given respite. He fears this latest round of employees will suffer the same fate.
“I am very doubtful that those workers will be able to gain employment at Baha Mar when it opens up because according to the Heads of Agreement from what I understand, no workers are supposed to be displaced – the workers are supposed to transfer in to the new hotel,” Mr. Beckford said. “That is not going to happen and I blame the union for allowing it to happen by not informing the workers about the contract situation because the contract is not properly registered. Therefore, the union cannot hold Baha Mar accountable in terms of them breaching the contract.”
Mr. Beckford said while a company has the right to make positions redundant, he said these hotel employees should have been handled better. For instance, he said while it was announced some time ago that there would be layoffs, it was never stated when and he argued that the workers should have been advised of when they were going to be let go.
Further, he charged that this is a union busting move by Baha Mar to ensure that its employees do not have union representation.
“I also understand that Baha Mar has the option to close down the hotel one year prior to the grand opening and my other question is will there be a union at Baha Mar and what does the union know about the Heads of Agreement between the Baha Mar and the government because it is the workers who are affected,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that all those workers are out of a job and the Christmas season is before us and it is very sad.”
Baha Mar officials have maintained that the Crystal Palace Hotel is being closed down and turned into mainly a training facility for its Food and Beverage Department ahead of the resort’s opening which is scheduled for some time next year.