NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) President Darrin Woods yesterday expressed concern that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used as a means to alter the terms and conditions of employment for hotel workers.
Speaking with Eyewitness News yesterday, Woods said the union was glad that many hotel workers across the country are returning to their jobs just before Christmas after the industry had been brought to an abrupt shutdown due to the pandemic.
“We are glad that the hotels are reopening and there are persons returning to work. We do, however, have some concerns over the changes that management is making in order for persons to go back to work. Definitely we have to address those,” said Woods.
“Some of the terms and conditions, management is attempting to change and is using COVID as the backdrop to those changes when the changes they are making have nothing to do with COVID. We know that when it comes to health, safety and sanitization, those protocols we agreed to.
“When you make changes as it relates to the terms and conditions and you are dangling the carrot over the employees’ heads, saying you either agree to this or you can’t come back to work and the employees have to make that decision, it is something we are concerned about and we are monitoring. We are calling on the powers that be to step in and assist us in putting a stop to it.”
Major hotel properties on the island are now reopening to guests, allowing hundreds of workers to return to their jobs. Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar last week described the reopening of the country’s two major resorts Atlantis and Baha Mar, along with other properties, as a “watershed moment” for the country’s tourism industry which has been devastated by the pandemic.