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Atlantis Job Fear Over Wage Rise

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE new national minimum wage of $210 could have a dire affect on one of the country’s leading hotels, as there is some suggestion that the 40 per cent wage hike might result in job reductions.

Speaking exclusively to The Tribune, a Paradise Island source said there are “growing rumblings” at the Atlantis resort that the government’s recently implemented minimum wage increase for the private sector is not being “favourably received” due to its affect on the company’s profitability and capacity to compete.

That well-placed source said that the increase in the minimum wage could cost the company as much as $2m a year – in addition to the $8m increase in business license fees presently experienced by the resort.

The source said “adjustments” would have to be made at the hotel. When asked if this included potential job losses, the source said it is a possibility.

“You can be assured that we will not continue to bear these costs. We will make adjustments where we have to,” the source, who did not want to be identified, stated.

“There was no conciliation with respect to the minimum wage increase. You would think that tipped positions would have been excluded from this newest tax on businesses.

“How does someone making $40,000 a year fall into the minimum wage employee category when there are mandatory gratuities attached?”

The source explained that while the resort can pass expenses related to value added tax (VAT) to customers, it was in no position to do so with every other cost thrown at it and stay competitive.

“This is just crazy mathematics,” the source said. “We will take whatever measures are necessary to sustain our business, however painful those measures may be.”

The new national minimum wage took effect on Saturday.

The increase brought private sector minimum wage in line with the minimum wage of the public sector, which is $210.

Earlier this month, Labour Minister Shane Gibson cautioned “unscrupulous” employers not to undermine the new wage rate.

At the time, he also dismissed claims that the wage increase would lead to higher levels of unemployment, suggesting that increases in the minimum wages across the region and North America have had a positive affect on economic growth.

Atlantis currently employees some 7,000 persons.

Comments

DreamerX 3 years, 10 months ago

What information did he supply to suggest positive economic benefit?

Shane Gibson speaks on a lot of issue it seems but never really delivers support.

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Bahamian_in_London 3 years, 10 months ago

Good old PLP doing everything they can to make the Bahamas as uncompetitive as possible.

They honestly seem to think that tourists don't have other options. They may not be quite as good, but if they cost half the price, where are people going to go on vacation?

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TruePeople 3 years, 10 months ago

positive economic impact is that there is more money distributed amongst workers rather than employers gaining larger profits. Which is to say the common person should have more spending money (or atleast enough to cover current expenses, especially since Cost of living goes up, and now VAT on top of that). As for the Bahamas being competitive??? It's not $ value that makes bahamas competative, as it is if it is not the most expensive vacation destination in the region, it is absolutely amongst the most expensive already. People come here because it's close, and it's an English speaking country that is NOT Jamaica. With the crime situation, hand in hand with so many other issues here currently, the competitiveness of our geography may not be enough. Cuba is also not Jamacia and truss me people will go there instead. Canadians have long favoured Cuba over Bahamas due to it being cheap as hell

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Bahamian_in_London 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree with with you TruePeople - the Bahamas is the best destination in terms of proximity and infrastructure, but people are only willing to pay so much for the best. I fear with VAT, 40% minimum wage and Cuba opened, we have gone past the threshold where Bahamas is worth the premium.

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 10 months ago

It is just pure foolishness to suggest that the minimum wage increase will result in job losses. to begin with no Company hires people unless they need people to work. The increase is small. It is very hard to live on that wages. Bus fare will take a sizable amount of one's pay cheque.. where is the justice in all this, I am sure who ever spoke to the Tribune makes a whole lot of money, and all people have certain basic needs.

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Sickened 3 years, 10 months ago

You go ask your boss or baby daddy for a 40% increase and see what he says.

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Chucky 3 years, 10 months ago

If Atlantis can't make it because it has to now pay a measly $210.00 per week to its lowest paid employees, then I would suggest they shut the place down! What good does a big resort do for anyone if it needs to starve it's employees to survive?

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Wideawake 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree that a minimum wage of $210.00 is fair and equitable and everyone who works hard, especially after they been trained, deserves to earn at least $210.00 per week. The trouble with Government is that they have waited too long to hike the minimum wage.

If the cost of living increases 3% per annum, then minimum wage should have been increased 4% per annum, until a fair and equitable wage was reached. Anyone who thinks that the old minimum wage is adequate should try living on this for a week or two!!

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TruePeople 3 years, 10 months ago

ya, and if CPI is 3% a year, and COLA is 4% a year, then that's only a net increase of 1% annually

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Arty 3 years, 10 months ago

You can see the effects already. Atlantis is 1/2 empty, swimming pools drained, lazy river drained, foodstalls closed. Once staff are let go it will affect tourists who will not come back to the Bahamas while Cuba, Curacao, Belize and others are advertising cheaper holidays. Kill the Golden Goose!

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Romrok 3 years, 10 months ago

Well Bacardi left over profitability... too bad for Atlantis, they cant pick up that resort and leave. Another investor swindled out of their money.

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TalRussell 3 years, 10 months ago

Comrades, minimum wage from days Pop Symonette and Sir Stafford, were never as low as corporate Bahamaland, would have liked it be, nor where they think it needs be in 2015, after all it dips into their profitability pockets.
Name me just one business anywhere in Bahamaland, that ever went bankrupt over paying wages - including Baha Mar, and City Markets?

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MonkeeDoo 3 years, 10 months ago

Well Birdie speak for yourself. I employ people to give them a bloody opportunity to learn something. But guess what - three of the best such hires ( one black and two white ) have decided that life is better in Canada paying a 50% + income tax than it is here with all the shit and crime and corruption that we have.

I wonder if you PLP bitches ever give anything back to the country or its people. Not a chance. Allison trying to get all she can on the last train. Steffan Christie doin the same and I understand that Adam Christie and Daddy had a deal going on some swimming pools and we might hear a little more on that in Delaware.

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MonkeeDoo 3 years, 10 months ago

P.S. Birdie. I paid these apprentices between 150.00 and 200.00 a week. They earned me nothing but I hoped one day they might. So o.k. it was an investment but I can get an Indian in India much cheaper so you and the PLP take care of these kids now. Go for it.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 10 months ago

Who works for Atlantis for less than the new minimum wage ........... and why???????

If a person is working at Atlantis for less than $5.25 per hour ............. please identify yourself

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crawfish 3 years, 10 months ago

Who in this Bahamaland can make it of $5.25 per hour ($210.00 per week)????

Companies and individuals should be ashamed of themselves to balk at paying ANYONE such a meager wage. In the Bahamas where I live, the minimum wage paid for menial labour is $10.00 per hour, or $400.00 per week. That is correct. Central Abaco is flourishing with touristic business, where maids, gardeners, general labourers, and other workers at the lower end of the spectrum are paid $10.00 per hour.

Last time I looked around, Abaco was at the top of the heap economically, in the Family Islands. So don't tell me that you cannot pay a decent wage and still make money in the tourist business. In my opinion, Atlantis is being selfish. My last stay at Altantis Harbourside, our accommodations cost $420.00 per night, plus $23.00 per day for INTERNET. Can you believe that they charge separately for internet, when the daily rate for the room is $420.00 plus other taxes.

Atlantis needs a reality check. And, I am growing weary of the Tribune's 'Secret Agents' who like to be quoted, but want to remain behind the veil. Or, are they really real?

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TalRussell 3 years, 10 months ago

Comrades I don't understand why this conversation is even necessary considering Atlantis public appearance practicing solid workers relationships, if it were not for some unnamed source. Atlantis marks up its room rates, entertainment, hotels foods and beverages, aquarium, beach towels, and chairs, etc, etc - so why not follow suit by marking up workers minimum wage pay, and there can't be no more than a handful earning such still too low wages?

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John 3 years, 10 months ago

Shane Gibson knows the government made an obvious mistake by raising the minimum wage by 40% (plus an additional increase in National Insurance) but rather than admit willingness to work with employers he continues in his arrogant ways and still expect that employers will be able to absorb this shock in an already severely depressed market. Remember that minimum wage is for entry level workers who are usually unskilled and in most cases undereducated. A minimum of $180.00 would be more sustainable and social assistance offered to those workers who find themselves not able to rise above the minimum wage. Gas prices and the cost of electricity have dropped 40 - 50 % around the world and ours are yet to drop by more than 10%.

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John 3 years, 10 months ago

For those who say no one can live of $210 a week then they need to lobby the government to bring down the cost of living, improve learning conditions and make the business environment less hostile including the curbing of crime. They follow America where they are destroying low cost housing then locking persons up for being homeless. Four and five working immigrants can get together and rent a two bedroom apartment that may no longer be affordable by a single mother or even a married couple.

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Zakary 3 years, 10 months ago

  • Remember that minimum wage is for entry level workers who are usually unskilled and in most cases undereducated.

You are right John, and because no one remembers this, minimum wage discussions always become moot.

The historical intention of the minimum wage was to properly compensate unskilled and under educated people. These are the type of workers that are often taken advantage of by the employer.

Minimum wage is also not a livable wage. Politicians will always try to convince you that the minimum wage is supposed to be a livable wage, but it’s not. Don’t drink the kool-aid. It’s called “minimum” for a reason.

I’m also of the belief that minimum wage laws should not even exist, except in a few sectors of society that are more susceptible to abuse, but this country does not have the required responsibility or the discipline.

Employers should be assessing the skill set of their employees, and both parties should be negotiating a proper wage. Generally, most Bahamians should be getting paid well above minimum wage if they have the skills and education.

My biggest beef with minimum wage is that it prices a lot of unskilled laborers out of the job market entirely. If your skills don’t satisfy the $210 wage requirement, then quite frankly you are not in the market, and ya luck buck.

I don’t know what the market wage is, but I do know that based on a supply and demand model, if a price floor is set on wages and it is increased above the market wage, then job losses follow.

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