Hotel union to take strike vote on Dec 18

Hotel union to take strike vote on Dec 18
Labour Director, John Pinder.

Pinder: Atlantis has agreed to suspend disciplinary system


NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) has filed an application with the Department of Labour to take a strike vote on December 18, over a recently imposed 12-point disciplinary system and a shift system that impacts housekeepers at the Atlantis resort, Director of Labour John Pinder confirmed yesterday.

However, Pinder said Atlantis has agreed to suspend the disciplinary system that triggered work to rule nearly three weeks ago, and has requested that 48 housekeepers work two new shifts.

“Based on the meetings we have been having, the hotel has agreed to withdraw the 12-point system and they were asking for the union to assist them in two new shifts [for housekeepers]; a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to cover some maid services in both of the towers,” he said, when contacted for comment.

Pinder was unable to say when the suspension of the disciplinary system will take effect, but said if it is not suspended by December 17 then “the union can go ahead and get their strike vote in on the 18”.

“Once that matter has been resolved, then the union should withdraw the trade dispute,” the director noted.

According to BHCAWU President Darrin Woods, the resort implemented the new disciplinary system and a new shift system for housekeepers in September — all without the agreement or input of the union.

He said the 12-point system, which is electronically based and tallies infractions such as tardiness and improper clock in or clock out, negatively impacts workers and their benefits.

Housekeepers at the resort work two shifts: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The new shift system would require them to work one of three shifts: 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., according to the union.

Woods said while there were a handful of housekeepers interested in working the new shifts, unilateral changes to the terms and conditions of employment cannot be made without the consent of the union.

The union filed a trade dispute in late October.

According to Pinder, the union advised it would accept the new shift system if the hotel can get the needed housekeepers to agree to transfer.

He said the BHCAWU has also taken issue with a number of redundancies in the laundry department.

Those employees, who are considered part of the back of house operation, were offered positions in the front of house, Pinder said.

However, he said the union considers this a change to the terms and conditions of employment for those employees and believes they could be disadvantaged by the move.