By Youri Kemp
REDUNDANCIES made at Baker's Bay Golf and Ocean Club are only temporary, insisted Abaco Chamber of Commerce president Ken Hutton, pictured, yesterday.
Speaking to Tribune Business, Mr Hutton said there were no lay-offs at the club, only temporary redundancies during the down-period.
Hutton, who said he had spoken to management at Baker's Bay said he was told: "Basically, no staff members 'laid-off' or fired, but were made 'redundant' for the time being."
Essentially, all of the people in the housekeeping and hospitality portion of the resort, which is closed following Hurricane Dorian, were made.
Mr Hutton added: "What they (Baker's Bay management) did was that they paid everyone for several weeks and they are retrenching, but are now back in the construction and reconstruction phase. When that is done they will get back to hiring and bringing people back on to work. It is what one would expect."
A letter that was sent to staff members of Baker's Bay from management announcing these redundancies was forwarded to Tribune Business, stating that while the club will be closed for the foreseeable future, the closure period is expected to be between six to 15 months, but all salaried staff and hourly staff will be paid through to October 20. In addition, management identified about 200 positions that will provide support during the club's closure.
The letter added that individuals in jobs that the club will be unable to support during the estimated closure will be deemed redundant as of October 21 and will be paid in accordance with the Bahamian Employment Act.
Mr Hutton added: "They do not plan to close down, in fact it is quite the opposite. They are trying to rebuild the resort back to former glory and moving full steam ahead with it.
"I do know that in terms of employment right now, they have 236 people on site working in construction, and 200 coming in on the ferry every day. They are not shutting down, they are moving ahead with rebuilding.
"They also have a 100-person accommodation barge (for workers) that is on site now and another one coming soon," Hutton also said.
Trying to allay fears Baker's Bay may be shutting down, Mr Hutton said: "They are not downsizing. They are rightsizing to deal with the deal situation.
"But no one has been laid-off, they have just been made redundant during the down period because there is no business or any expected within the short term."
Member of parliament for Central and South Abaco James Albury said of the situation: "As a representative of Abaco, I am always disappointed to see my constituents lose work opportunities, but I sincerely hope that after the time of restructure and repair, they will follow through with their intent to hire and put more Abaconians back to work as soon as possible."