NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) president Darrin Woods said yesterday that while thousands of hotel employees were eager to ‘get back to work’ the end of the COVID-19 crisis remains hard to predict, with the union now planning to distribute vouchers to aid its membership .
Woods told Eyewitness News that the BHCAWU had been able to negotiate an advance from the Union Health and Welfare Fund, though he was unable to say the amount of funds the union had secured.
Woods said it would all be disclosed at the next membership meeting as well as how those funds would be replaced.
“We got permission to do it next week. We got an advance from the health and welfare fund. The union is going to reconcile everything once all is said and done. I can’t disclose any details about it until we address the membership,” said Woods.
According to a notice by the union which was seen by Eyewitness News the union has been given approval to distribute the vouchers beginning April 20-24 between 9am and 2.30 pm at Worker’s House.
Employees of Melia, the British Colonial Hilton, Ocean Club, Restaurant Bahamas Ltd (KFC), Harbourside Resort, Towne Hotel and Best Western (Bayview Villas) are to report to Worker’s House on Monday April 20.
April 21 to 23 is designated for Atlantis employees, starting with employees whose surnames begin with A-F on April 21; G-P on April 22 and Q-z on April 23. April 24 is reserved for persons who missed their assigned days.
Audrey Oswell, Atlantis’ president and managing director, told employees in a video message posted to its resort’s website last week that the resort will likely be closed beyond the May 15 date previously announced.
The site also informed staff that they should receive the first relief payments from both Atlantis and the hotel industry’s Health and Welfare Fund by this week at the latest.
Woods said: “Everyone want’s to get back to work. Unless things start to get better on the outside it won’t get better on the inside. It’s really hard to predict this one. You just have to play it by ear and following the social distancing rules etc.”
“Everyone is just watching the international community and what is happening. The hardest part is waiting because there isn’t anything you can do. You just have to trust God on this one.”