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Strike Crisis: Hotel Workers Signal Massive Vote For Action

HOTEL workers overwhelmingly backed a strike during an official Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union’s poll yesterday.

Up to press time last night more than 2,000 workers had voted in favour of striking, union president Darron Woods said, and fewer than 30 voted against industrial action.

Mr Woods said that, based on the unofficial tally, 1,594 Atlantis workers supported a strike, 14 voted against it, 41 left their ballots blank and six had spoiled ballots. About 4,000 Atlantis workers are part of the BHCAWU.

Mr Woods also said 538 employees from Melia Nassau Beach, British Colonial Hilton, Lyford Cay Club and the Towne Hotel voted “yes” to a strike; only seven voted “no”.

Forty-four employees of Harbourside Resort voted in support of a strike, none voted no. And 56 employees of the Ocean Club voted in favour of a strike, with only one voting no.

Mr Woods said he still hopes to avert a crippling stoppage. “We will get together with hotel operators and start talking,” he said. “The voice of the people is clear. It’s now about getting together to resolve the issues.”

The Bahamas Hotel Employers Association (BHEA) recently presented hotel workers with its proposed industrial agreement.

A viral video captured the angry reaction workers had to the proposal, with some burning the document during a recent meeting as one man shouted: “Burn this proposal, it’s not good for the people.”

The proposal would eliminate the automatic 15 percent gratuity employees receive. Workers’ holiday benefits would be adjusted; the Christmas bonus would be tied to a hotel’s performance and paid in January, not December. Ham and turkey gifts will no longer be guaranteed.

The proposal comes despite performance indicators for major Nassau/Paradise Island hotels increasing by double digit amounts during the first quarter of this year, with room revenues up 37 percent. Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar has said the industry is “firing on all cylinders,” with stopover bookings from April to June about nine percent ahead of 2018.

The last industrial agreement between the BHEA and the union expired in 2013 and its terms are being treated as if they are still in effect after the union missed the October 8, 2012 deadline to submit a new proposal for an industrial agreement. BHCAWU leadership has felt pressure to deliver a new industrial agreement. Mr Woods and his leadership team made securing a deal their top priority when they took office a year ago.

The BHEA represents Atlantis, the Reef, the Cove, Harbourside Resort, Melia Nassau Beach, British Colonial Hilton, Lyford Cay Club, the Ocean Club and Towne Hotel. Amid the rancor, BHEA officials have emphasised that industrial agreement negotiations have only just began.

Earlier this week, Mr D’Aguilar urged the hotel union and industry officials to allow “calmer heads to prevail”, insisting that a strike at this time would have a devastating impact on soaring tourism numbers.

“Get into a room and ensure they come to an amicable solution,” the minister said.

Comments

TheMadHatter 2 years, 11 months ago

Im sure these workers have some legitimate issues - but instead of discussing them they choose to in effect say 1. We want 15% gratuity even if we suck ... and we dont want 20% or more gratuity if we excel.
2. We want all kinda vacation like as if we were government workers 3. We believe bonuses come from thin air and should not be related to a hotel's profits. We can ignore wastage cause it aint our problem 4. We want to spend ALL our money in December and start the new year broke cause we feel better when self loathing 5. Just give us turkey and ham ... it works like a baby pacifier and then we forget all our troubles

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DDK 2 years, 11 months ago

That's about it in a NUT shell, Hatter!

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 11 months ago

When I was younger I worked a lot as waiter/ bartender etc , the worst thing was the 15% automatic on the bill , I always averaged 20 to 25% but when its on the bill the guest just say ,,the tips on the bill .Why should I hustle when some lazy bones gives the guest a bad experience and still get 15 %

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bogart 2 years, 11 months ago

ALL OF THE NEGATIVES DELAYS..UNRESOLVED ISSUES.. WILL IMPACT DA NATION.....making agreements wid huge Employers in the premier industry should be dealt wid in forefront ( like in da beginning in contract agreement wid nation on mammoth changes....--- last time govt did not seem to know hotet wid Bahamian birth rights in it being sold to another party) by DA GUBBERMINT..IN DA LEADING ROLE.........stead of dragging DRAGGING DRAGGING....PARTIES HAVE MADE DERE DEMOCRSTIC...RIGHTS...on publictly unresolved issues......cascading all over ....from Travel agencies..Employee salary deductions to banks....travellers planning soon trips....National concern should be govt step in before further action crystallizes.....ezzagerated...positions...posturing....erry hour some traveller paying for the ticket...an potential travellers hav been advising by travel agencies.....

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Hoda 2 years, 11 months ago

Govt can just step in and say this what is gonna. At the end of the day these are private businesses not government employees.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 11 months ago

Yes, but these are foreign owned and operated enterprises that enjoy huge concessions paid for by the over-taxed Bahamians they employ. The fundamental problem here is that the Minnis-led FNM government has been focusing the lion's share of its efforts on keeping foreign investors happy while doing little if anything for the Bahamian people who are struggling to make ends meet.

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 11 months ago

We got two choices FNM or PLP ,,who you want ?? Don,t forget there are many Islands just as pretty as us competing for the foreign investor , T and C , Caymans , The D R that are now doing over 4 million stopover a year while we are still about 1 1/2 million stopover ,, and lordy lordy when Cuba really opens . Now I am older and more pragmatic and live in reality ..who you want the FNM or PLP ,,From 2012 to 2017 the PLP put 2 billion on the debt that is w collecting a billion in VAT w out one major or minor infastructure project ..unless you call 500 million walking out the front door of BOB to friends and cronies an infrastructure project ..Now lets talk reality the FNM is not perfect but I will take them six ways to sunday over the PLP ,,and we can yap on all we want about other parties or this or that ,,but I,m pragmatic ,,Who you want Mudda ,,these r your choices

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 11 months ago

Spare me the choice of two evils mantra and push hard for quality candidates independent of the equally corrupt FNM and PLP parties come the next general election.

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 11 months ago

We will get the PLP or FNM ..I like Chester Cooper , I wish he would switch to the FNM ,,be DPM and then next time PM .Yes there have been some corrupt FNMs but I don,t accept that the party is as corrupt as the PLP have become .

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 11 months ago

Chester is over-rated ...... if he was that good Gravy Davis would already be OUT

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sealice 2 years, 11 months ago

too bad they are in these unions and can't make any real money considering how hard they purportedly work.... as long as the unions keep you in the fruity drink shirts and the ars wiper maid cloths you are never going to be more then the fruity drink boy or asswiper praying for tips so you can get your kids xmas gifts....unions are keeping you there and limiting you just like our government .....

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Clamshell 2 years, 11 months ago

Amazing what people will risk for a $20 frozen turkey.

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Dawes 2 years, 11 months ago

Hotels smart, Now when negotiations happen they will agree to keep the 15% and the xmas bonus and the union will think they've won.

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bogart 2 years, 11 months ago

Nice thinking.....but 6,000 union members not getting x $50 ....voucher =300,000. ......and 300 possible tourist guests cancelling trip advised possible strike...x $1,000....hotel stay =$300,000........Smart ones is the Union Executives getting paid, bonus ? an perks?...Turkey an ham..??

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