By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
EMPLOYEES of Sandals Royal Bahamian resort will strike on Monday, President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Obie Ferguson, told The Big T yesterday.
The strike comes after 187 members of the Bahamas Hotel Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (BHMAWU) voted in favour of taking the action on Thursday.
Sandals executives were given until 9am yesterday to meet the demands of their unionised employees or risk facing an immediate strike.
After yesterday’s deadline passed without a favourable response from the executives to the union’s demands, Mr Ferguson said employees will go on strike on Monday after his union receives its strike certificate.
The union claims management at Sandals has failed to meet their demands over a number of issues.
Mr Ferguson said: “They left us with no choice. We can’t enter the property, we can’t meet with our members, they made sure we couldn’t contact them. They have not engaged with us in six years. They fired 12 workers for joining the union and three maids when they were pregnant. These are our issues, they know what our issues are. We are surprised that they aren’t mindful to do what is right. For some reason they won’t work with us.”
In a press release on Tuesday, Sandals representatives said they were “surprised” to learn through the media that the BHMAWU had decided on a strike vote exercise that would “impede the day-to-day operations”.
“Sandals Royal Bahamian is and has always been a responsible employer that abides by the laws of the Bahamas and we find this stance by the union extremely baffling given that not only are both parties continuing to meet on an ongoing basis on issues related to our team members, but also that a matter is still before the Court of Appeal.
“We continue to treat with the BHMAWU on various issues in direct accordance with the laws of the Bahamas and any statements to the contrary are entirely unfounded,” the statement said.
“It is also unfortunate that the BHMAWU would attempt to disrupt operations when the resort’s occupancy is beginning to rise, and sadly any such action will invariably impact the income of our team members.
“We have invested enormous sums of money to raise the resort to even greater heights, including the total refurbishment of over 200 suites in the Windsor Building and the creation of the Walkout River Suites which are a month away from completion. This kind of investment has drastically changed the face of the resort and is the talk of the marketplace, which we believe will go on to benefit the team members as well as the destination of the Bahamas as a whole.”