Hotel union to resume talks with BHEA this week

Darrin Woods

Overwhelming majority of union members voted to strike in May

Amid escalating labor tensions, executives of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) are expected to meet with the Bahamas Hotel Employers Association (BHEA) tomorrow to advance negotiations for a new industrial agreement.

An overwhelming majority of BHCAWU members voted to strike in May after months of challenges to come to terms of a new agreement.

The union held off on taking industrial action with talks expected to resume in good faith among stakeholders in mid-July.

Speaking to Eyewitness News Online, BHCAWU President Darrin Woods said yesterday that a preliminary meeting was held recently, but Wednesday’s meeting is hoped to advance efforts towards reaching an agreement on the substantive terms proposed.

“Well, like I said, we hope to start the negotiation process to the industrial agreement and as we go along we will try to address any other issues that remain outstanding,” said Woods, as he expressed cautious optimism about the outcome of the upcoming meeting.

“I am hopeful we can get through a pretty big chunk of what it is we gave go through.

“We are working through the other issues we have with each other and we are trying to get the industry to continue in the vein in which it seems to be headed, and get their people and our people to get on board.”

The union has grave concerns about the reduction of gratuity amounts from 15 percent to zero in certain dining areas.

The BHEA, which represents employers in the negotiations, has said that the gratuity was a non-issue, however.

The last union agreement expired in January 2013.

The union’s proposal for a new agreement was submitted in December 2018.

Yesterday, Woods noted that among the association’s proposals was a policy initiative with international considerations which the union “will look at”.

Wednesday’s meeting will take place at 11 a.m. at Hotel’s House.