|Former Wyndham workers appeal to PM|
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Nov 13, 2012
Scores of disgruntled former Wyndham Nassau Resort workers yesterday called on the government to assist them in getting their jobs back, threatening to protest on Bay Street if help is not forthcoming.
Ninety-six workers were displaced after the closure of two food and beverage outlets nearly two weeks ago.
“We need to see our prime minister,” said one worker, who was among about 30 former employees gathered at Workers House.
“We need you this morning or [else] we [will] have to come to Bay Street and stand there [in protest]. So we need you right now because a lot of us are out of a job.”
The workers already sought help from Minister of Labour Shane Gibson, but were not pleased with his response to their concerns.
Now they are petitioning Prime Minister Perry Christie for assistance.
The redundancies came shortly after the hotel union and Baha Mar officials clashed over the voluntary separation and early retirement packages offered by the company, ahead of the property’s recent temporary closure.
The hotel reopened on October 17 after a six-week closure.
Amos Major, the union’s chief shop steward on the property, said workers were assured that their jobs were not at stake.
However, he said given the redundancies, current employees now fear that the same could happen to them.
“It seems as if everything has changed. Our jobs are not safe,” he said.
“No one wants to take charge. We need someone to step in. The union is doing its part. But these persons are out of jobs. We beg the government to come and do their part.”
He added: “These persons have been working [at] the hotel for... 20-something years. We can’t sit back and watch this happen. We are looking for help and we expect the government to step in. We’re waiting on some change to happen.”
Wyndham shop steward Kayla Green also appealed for help for the workers
“We have persons affected by the closure of restaurant,” she said. “They haven’t had a paycheck for two weeks. We are asking the prime minister to intervene. It is not right. We are Bahamians. You said in your manifesto, believe in Bahamians,” she said, referring to Christie.
“We are workers in The Bahamas. Hear our cry. These people are hurting... mortgage, school fees.”
Another former worker said she received only $6,000 in redundancy pay.
“It’s a slap in my face. I’ve been here from 1984,” she said.
When news first spread that the employees were made redundant, Baha Mar defended its decision to restructure the food and beverage department, claiming its current facilities far outweigh demand.
Robert ‘Sandy’ Sands, senior vice president of administration and external affairs, said the Cable Beach hotel’s current food and beverage offerings are more than double the industry norm.