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Hotel Union protests firing of Atlantis shop steward

Members of the Bahamas Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union stood in solidarity with an Atlantis chief shop steward, who was terminated for “insubordination” and “inciting work stoppage”, after a clean record on the job for 24 years. 
Pictured in front in photo: President of Human Rights Bahamas and BHCAWU Union member Princess Adderley, Chief shop steward for Royal Towers Housekeeping Stephanie St Fleur, and Darrin Woods, President of BHCAWU.
Photo: Letre Sweeting

Members of the Bahamas Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union stood in solidarity with an Atlantis chief shop steward, who was terminated for “insubordination” and “inciting work stoppage”, after a clean record on the job for 24 years. Pictured in front in photo: President of Human Rights Bahamas and BHCAWU Union member Princess Adderley, Chief shop steward for Royal Towers Housekeeping Stephanie St Fleur, and Darrin Woods, President of BHCAWU. Photo: Letre Sweeting

By LETRE SWEETING

Tribune Staff Reporter

lsweeting@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) members protested in front of the Department of Labour yesterday after Atlantis terminated the resort’s chief shop steward.

The workers shouted “solidarity forever” and “workers’ rights are human rights.” They visited the department after failing to meet Atlantis officials earlier.

Darrin Woods, president of the union, said Atlantis fired Princess Adderley, the chief shop steward at Royal Towers.

He said Atlantis suspended the woman on Tuesday after an incident last Friday involving workers who objected to paying for new independence uniform shirts because their demands for a new industrial agreement have not been met. Mr Woods said Ms Adderley was not initially present during the incident but was held responsible when the employees stopped working.

The Bahamas Hotel and Restaurant Employers Association, which represents Atlantis, and the BHCAWU have been negotiating a new industrial agreement for ten years.

Mr Woods said the association’s proposals had not satisfied members’ demands for greater financial compensation and job security.

Mr Woods said Atlantis’ termination of Ms Adderley because of alleged insubordination and incitement of work stoppage violated the industrial agreement.

Katie Longley, director of public relations at Atlantis, declined to comment yesterday.

“Today,” Mr Woods said, “is a sad day in the country as we prepare to celebrate our 50th anniversary as an independent nation where workers’ rights are being trampled on. We have a chief shop steward for the BHCAWU who has been terminated for what they call inciting a work stoppage when she was not even involved with it at the beginning.

“They also said she was grossly insubordinate by refusing to send the employees back to work. It is not her job to send employees back to work, but she complied. They didn’t like the manner in which she told the employees to go back to work so they took an action on Tuesday.”

“So when we went back for the meeting today, we wanted them to produce the evidence to support the actions that they would have written on the document. What we see this as is an attempt to get at the union in the first instance and to silence the employees, who are concerned about the negotiations and some things that are outstanding. So we stand here in solidarity for our shop steward first and foremost, second for the workers in this country, because we believe that 50 years later, we seem to still be back where we were at the initial stage when we should be much further than we are today.”

Mr Woods said Atlantis had no authority to discipline the shop steward.

“As an employer, you cannot engage her to talk about uniforms and stuff, you have to be engaging her as a shop steward and once you are engaging her as a shop steward, then you and her are on the same level,” he said. 

Ms Adderley, who has been an Atlantis employee since 1999, said she feels “victimised”.

“I am an outspoken person and I speak my mind and nobody is going to take advantage of me,” she said. “If I don’t like what you are doing, I’m going to tell you about it. That’s me.”

“It shows me the character of the employees in there because, at the end of the day, you are walking in Atlantis, and you’re walking on eggshells. So, all I’m good for is to scrub toilets and make up beds. I can’t voice what I have to say? It doesn’t work like that.”

Ms Adderley promised to take legal action.

“I don’t want to work no more when I am finished suing Atlantis,” she said.

Comments

AnObserver 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Mr Woods said Atlantis had no authority to discipline the shop steward.

Umm. If an employer can't discipline an employee, something is very very very wrong.

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