The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.
By SYANN THOMPSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
ATLANTIS workers went back on the job on Friday after disgruntled union members protested on Thanksgiving – leaving a scramble to address the grievances of staff.
The Tribune understands that shortly after the demonstration outside Atlantis on Thursday, the acting Minister of Labour, Marvin Dames, met with executives of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union to hash out their industrial issues and plans to continue discussions until there is a resolution.
The workers walked off the job during one of the biggest seasons for tourism in the country, citing unresolved issues with their industrial agreement. Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar expressed his disappointment with the industrial action during what he called a critical period for business. The minister confirmed that an injunction was filed against workers picketing at Atlantis.
“As you can imagine, our tourism sector was inflicted with millions upon millions of dollars with negative public relations as a result of Hurricane Dorian. The tourism sector is reeling from the effects of that negative public relations,” said Mr D’Aguilar.
He added: “This is the period, this is the time of year where we must demonstrate to the world that despite their lack of knowledge about the geography of The Bahamas and their impression that The Bahamas as a country has been destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, that is very important that when people come here that they find first of all that the country is not destroyed.”
During the protest, the president of the Bahamas Catering and Allied Workers Union, Darrin Woods, told reporters that the walk-out was to show the powers-that-be that they have had enough. “The workers in the hospitality industry, the members of the hotel union are tired,” he said.
Protestors included workers from the maintenance and housekeeping departments. A housekeeping staff member told a local media outlet that she is frustrated that the cost of living continues to increase but their salaries have not increased. “Everybody can come say how the hotel is booming and everyone making money, but we have yet to make anything, you cannot go to the bank to get a loan for a house because of your set salary and for us that is only $196 dollars per week,” she said.
When the dust settles, the hotel workers union want a registered industrial agreement and stakeholders are said to be negotiating with the hotel union to achieve that.