Categorized | National News

Plot Revealed In Sandals Closure

OBIE FERGUSON (21)Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Obie Ferguson insists that the closure of the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort is a revenge plot towards the resorts’ workers.

“What they were doing was ensuring the occupancy would be reduced down to 20 per cent when it got down to 20 per cent then they were about to approach the government and say our occupancy is now reduced to 20 per cent, we have to reduce these workers or put them on rotation,” he said in an interview with the Bahama Journal.

“It was not intended to be a letter to anyone. It was the ground work, they were watching the occupancy.”

Last week, Senior Vice President of Unique Vacation, a subsidiary of Sandals Resorts, Gary Sandler, sent out a letter to patrons notifying them that the doors of the resort would be closed from August 15th to October 13th.

“We appreciate your patience as we work through this difficult time. We have instituted a streamlined and efficient course of action for those guests who may be affected and are extended all of our call center resources to you, including a 24-hour hotline,” the letter said.

The contents of the letter advised customers that call center agents would be contacting customers to discuss alternative options available including: rebooking at another Sandals Resort or Beaches Resort in equal or better category for the same time period; rebooking for a later date at no penalty; absorbing all airline change fees; or extending two complimentary nights to Sandals Resorts stay valid for one year and based on availability.

Mr. Ferguson questioned why the letter was only sent to customers.

“That letter was never sent to the minister of tourism nor the minister of labour. It was never sent to the union. It was never sent to the workers in the hotel nor was it sent to the director of the prime minister,” he said.

Mr. Ferguson explained that two things must be done to make staff redundant, which would be to notify the labour minister and the trade union, none of which was done before the letter was sent out.

“That is the reason why they are at a loss, because it’s hard to explain,” he said.

The union has pushed for an industrial agreement since 2009.Along with this, the resort’s workers have complained about conditions at the resort, all events which Mr. Ferguson says led to the resorts push for a closure as retaliation against the staff.

Mr. Ferguson said he is not so certain now, that workers will be compensated during the layoff. He explained that the letter was sent to customers around the beginning of the school year, a time in which the hotel executives, knew it’s workers would be in dire need of money.

“The Bahamian public, the media was not supposed to know about that letter. That letter was not meant for public knowledge, clearly,” he said.

The resort was slapped with a summons to appear in court this week, after failing to recognize it’s union, the Bahamas Hotel Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (BHMAWU).

Earlier this year, three workers were fired after participating in a strike when trucks blocked off the road to the resort.

The Journal reached out to Labour Minister Shane Gibson, who refused to comment on the matter.




Written by Jones Bahamas

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