Hotel union to meet with Atlantis over COVID-19 fallout

Hotel union to meet with Atlantis over COVID-19 fallout
Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) president Darrin Woods.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) Darrin Woods yesterday said the union plans to sit with Atlantis management on how to ‘soften the blow’ for its staff amid the fallout from COVID-19 pandemic.

The iconic property has asked its employees to voluntarily take vacation or two weeks of unpaid leave as the situation evolves.

“All that is happening now had already been discussed,” Woods said.

“The plans are now being executed and we are moving to the next phase. Our industrial agreement speaks to this, if there is curtailment or an act of God management is able to do this and they are taking advantage of what is set out in the industrial agreement.

In a memo to employees, Human Resources Senior Vice President Karen Carey said: “Over the years, we have continually demonstrated our enduring values regarding the safety, satisfaction and well-being of our guests and team members.

“In this current climate, where COVID-19 is impacting everyone globally, it is no different for us. We want to thank each and everyone one of you for ensuring that we continue to deliver on our Bahamas at Heart guest experience.

”While our efforts continue and we work on this together, it is essential and important for us to make changes and take further steps to help us manage through this as situations evolve.”

She continued: “We want you to feel absolutely confident that we are doing our best to shoulder the burden of our operations to secure our future and to lessen the burden that this situation imposes on you.

“We are all in this together so, let’s continue to be resolute and strong. We remain optimistic that we can count on your support and cooperation at this critical time. We will get through this.”

Woods said: “They are invoking the provisions of the industrial agreement. It’s the same thing done when there is a hurricane impact. It’s an individual decision.

“People have to decide if they want to use their vacation now or maybe take a week off from work. God forbid if this goes on for five weeks, or three months and a persons uses their time now but people have to make a decision based on their circumstances.

“Atlantis is going to make a business decision. The employees have to make a financial decision. How we soften the blow to employees is a discussion that still has to happen. The union is going to sit with management and find a way to bridge the gap between what they don’t have and what they need.”

The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons resort on Paradise Island told Eyewitness News that it continues to welcome guests and has encouraged employees to utilize accrued paid time off or take unpaid leave “if their household and financial stability allows”.

In a response to Eyewitness News inquiries, the resort said: “At The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, the health and safety of both our guests and employees continues to be our top priority. The resort is open and operational and continues to welcome guests. We consistently review the latest information, protocols and tools from the world’s leading health experts and government authorities to ensure the effectiveness of our response.”

The resort continued: “There are increasing concerns regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and occupancy has been impacted. The Ocean Club remains committed to providing our team with as many hours as business allows. As this flexes we will adjust accordingly.

“At this time we have encouraged employees to utilize accrued paid time off or take unpaid leave if their household and financial stability allows. We continue to monitor and provide daily updates to our employees.”