By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
WITH payouts to former Baha Mar workers set to begin tomorrow, Claims Committee Chairman James Smith yesterday advised employees not to worry if payments did not match the amount listed on their redundancy letters.
Mr Smith urged workers with discrepancies to bring in the letter they received from the resort’s human resources department upon their termination as the committee was prepared to deal with any dispute.
He explained that the amounts listed on those letters were in line with the country’s labour laws on severance pay, but noted that the claims process was not subject to those laws.
“(Workers) became a creditor to Baha Mar with that letter, and could use that to get relief in the courts. In this process, we were trying to use those letters or come as close as we can to those letters even though there is no obligation on our part since it’s not being done under labour legislation. But the idea is to meet as close as possible their expectations.
“We had one or two calls saying that the amounts that they say in the letter seem to be different from the amounts that they are now being offered. If that happens, and it could in some cases as we’re dealing with 2,000 employees, we’re asking them to bring those letters and we’ll see if we can deal with it. The idea is to meet their expectations as best they can or even more,” he said.
Employees with last names beginning with the letters A through F will collect payments on Tuesday, those with last names beginning with the letters G through O will collect their cheques on September 28, and last names beginning with the letters P through Z will collect their cheques on September 29 from the Crystal Palace Training Hotel, Casino Entrance.
The cheques are expected to cover unpaid salaries, accrued vacation pay, severance pay and payments in lieu of notice for more than 2,000 Baha Mar workers made redundant in October last year.
Payments will be made by Perfect Luck Claims Ltd, the special purpose vehicle (SPV) that has been created specifically to purchase claims held by Baha Mar creditors under the terms of the Export-Import Bank of China’s (CEXIM) agreement with the Christie administration.
Mr Christie announced last month that an agreement had been reached with the bank to remobilise the hotel. At the time, he said construction was expected to restart in September.
However, last Thursday, Minister of Works and Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis said construction should resume within the next two weeks.