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Union Claims Atlantis Seeking To Terminate Staff Missing Work For Medical Reasons

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

A HOTEL union yesterday warned the Atlantis resort against allegedly seeking to terminate employees who have missed work for medical reasons, charging that it would “fight” the company “tooth and nail” to preserve the jobs of workers at the Paradise Island property.

Bahamas Hotel Catering & Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) Secretary General Darrin Woods, speaking with The Tribune, yesterday claimed that the company is allegedly “moving in” on employees who have missed significant amounts of time off from work - either due to an industrial accident or illness - with a view to terminating them.

Mr Woods also accused the resort of seeking to “circumvent” the established process of dealing with the potential termination of employees for the aforementioned alleged reasons, adding: “We ain’t going down that road, not today.”

Mr Woods’ claims were dismissed by Atlantis public relations executive Ed Fields, however, who told The Tribune when contacted yesterday that he is “not familiar” with the union’s claims.

Additionally, Director of Labour Robert Farquharson said he has not received a formal complaint regarding Mr Woods’ claims to date. Mr Farquharson also indicated that should the claims prove true, the hotel union’s industrial agreement with the resort allows for the union and the company to arbitrate the matter before soliciting the intervention of the Department of Labour.

Nonetheless, Mr Woods claimed that to date, multiple employees who have either been out sick for some time and/or suffered industrial accidents at the resort have allegedly been targeted by management with a view to having them terminated.

In particular, he referred to a female employee at The Cove who is allegedly being targeted after missing work due to an industrial accident.

“This particular lady still has another surgery that has to be done, and you’re saying you want to sever the lady and she got hurt on your job?

“Come on man,” Mr Woods said.

“…We intend to fight them tooth to nail on this one. Because one of the main things that the unions were asking for in general, is when we talk about how persons are treated on the job, in particular when they are injured on the job. And so for this one, we have to stand firm on this.”

Mr Woods also accused the company of seeking to bypass the established protocol in dealing with matters of this nature, which is soliciting the opinion of a medical “specialist” relative to the nature of the injury and/or illness before gravitating towards the option of termination.

“They are trying to get from A straight to Z without going through the other 26 letters of the alphabet,” he said. “So from the union’s standpoint we have to stand strong against it, because once these persons are exited from the system, what happens to them then? Their abilities to earn income is lost, any chance of reemployment is lost.

“…What we are saying, let’s follow the process and the procedure that is laid out in both instances. But they want to circumvent the process, and move directly to work up, which in fact is termination at the end of the day. We’re not going to be a party to that,” Mr Woods said.

When contacted, Mr Farquharson said: “Atlantis has an (industrial) agreement, and that (agreement) has a mechanism inside it called final arbitration tribunal, which provides for the (BHCAWU) and the company, Atlantis, if there is a dispute, they go to final arbitration before it is even filed here at the Department of Labour.

“I mean I’ve heard some issues regarding one or two persons in management who may have had that situation. But nothing formal has come before me, and if anybody would have complained I would have asked them to make a formal complaint. But to date I have no formal complaints here at the Department of Labour in regards to that.”

Comments

sealice 5 years, 2 months ago

Crooked ass unions all of a sudden standing up for employees as it gets closer and closer to elections......

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Cornel 5 years, 2 months ago

“They are trying to get from A straight to Z without going through the other 26 letters of the alphabet,”

Hold on . . . without going through the other 26 letters? As far as I know there are only 24 letters between A & Z? So 24 plus "A" plus "Z" makes 26.

This is yet another reason why Mr Woods and the rest of the Union Management should be terminated. They do not even know how many letters are in the Alphabet! ! ! !

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