‘Atlantis failed to follow the rules’

The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.

The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.


Darrin Woods


Tribune Chief Reporter


THE union representing hotel workers has claimed Atlantis management did not follow provisions set out in an industrial agreement regarding how employees are to be furloughed.

Darrin Woods, Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union president, told The Tribune that workers are now stuck on an “emotional rollercoaster” and have not had an opportunity to get mentally prepared for what could be several weeks at home because the industrial agreement was allegedly not followed.

Atlantis has said it is not closing, but as it is experiencing lower occupancy levels for January attributed to several factors – adequate airlift and a COVID-19 surge in key markets –- several divisions are on temporary furlough for a “few weeks”.

The Paradise Island resort said its team members and union were notified of the decision.

Yesterday, Mr Woods said while the union understands the current climate, there is a process that should be followed and respected.

This comes as several workers, who did not want to be named, said they understood the hotel’s position, but were having anxiety over taking care of their families.

Employees returned to work on December 10, after the mega resort closed in March due to COVID-19 restrictions that affected travel and movement as well as a surge in cases in the United States and other key markets.

“Our industrial agreement calls for rotation and layoff and the process is once occupancy drops persons would then be working reduced days and from reduced days we go to week on, week off and then from that then they go to what they call furlough but our agreement calls it a lay off,” Mr Woods said.

“What they have in fact done is gone from low occupancy straight to layoff or ‘furlough’ as they call it. Our concern is we believe that the employees should be treated a little better than that.

“They would have gone back to work based on what would have been forecasted but if the forecast has dropped off then they have an obligation to follow what the process is and the process would then be to give the employees a time to mentally prepare for what is to come as opposed to them going to work and the manager coming to them on roll call and saying to them that as of next week you have to go home and we’ll call you or we don’t even know when we’ll call you.”

He continued: “We just got the communication from the hotel over the weekend. They called us and originally when they called us they called us – I think it would have been Thursday – to say that they had to suspend some operations. So, we said to them put it in writing because we wanted something to refer to when we craft our response.

“Their thing is because of the decline in occupancy – remembering now that our industry is driven by occupancy and any time occupancy drops the process is that they would go to the reduced days and then so forth and so on for the mere fact that employees are then able to prepare themselves.”

Mr Woods described the situation as an “emotional rollercoaster”.

“It’s an emotional rollercoaster and that’s why I say we want to be able to be mentally prepared for what is coming,” he told The Tribune.

“What they would normally do on roll call is they would say what the occupancy is for the week then in the employees’ mind they know what that means. It means reduced days. They know that it doesn’t mean that I go back on furlough not just like that because they know that there are some steps in between occupancy dropping and me being laid off.

“Now there is no set time to say well you have to be on reduced days for three weeks, four weeks, five weeks so you control what happens because you are the one who rostered.

“They need to treat the employees better than they are treating them because these are living breathing human beings. They are not inanimate objects that don’t feel, don’t think, don’t have no reaction, no emotion.

“The whole COVID situation is enough that they have to deal with. We shouldn’t add anything else.”

Yesterday, some employees said they were feeling anxious.

“We just returned and I was feeling a sense of relief having things appear like they were headed back in the right direction,” one worker said yesterday. “But with the news of another lay off, it makes me nervous. We are back to where we were months ago having to scrap. It’s honestly depressing to think of spending weeks at home when we want to be at work.”

Another employee added: “My concern is really my family. Taking care of them is what I’m worried about.”

Atlantis did not respond to the union’s criticism up to press time.


benniesun 2 years, 2 months ago

The word for today appears to be "dimwitted". Our officials took very long to catch on to the game being played with the pcr test. First world countries are still in lockdown and turmoil; also inflation has started with millions out of work. The new normal is firmly in place. The sly game of opening hotels before yuletide did not translate into acceptable occupancy due to the new normal. The info of what is happening worldwide is easily available, but our leaders appear to be from the lowest 5 percentile of our beloved D-minus population.


tribanon 2 years, 2 months ago

And when it comes to be being "dimwitted", Minnis and D'Aguilar are hands-down the leaders of the pack.


immigrant 2 years, 2 months ago

Darin Woods is a joke. These workers will not have adequate representation as long as he is president. No vision and little common sense.


Sickened 2 years, 2 months ago

Every hotel staff member knows that their work depends on occupancy and that occupancy is dictated (at this time) on external issues that are way outside of the scope of the hotel and their marketing campaigns. All staff have known for 9 months now that COVID and government protocols across the globe are what are in control of our tourism numbers and they expect to be 'on call' for when they are needed. Why can't the union understand this? Why is the union spouting nonsense and causing problems. The union should be focused on helping their members through these tough times by lending/giving them money.


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