NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) and the Bahamas Hotel Employers Association (BHEA) have reached an agreement on a new five-year industrial contract, marking the hotel industry’s first such agreement in a decade.
The last industrial agreement expired in 2013. Darrin Woods, president of the BHCAWU, confirmed to Eyewitness News on Wednesday night: “We have reached an agreement with the BHEA that covers all major hotel properties.”
Labor and Public Service Minister Pia Glover-Rolle expressed her satisfaction that the agreement had been reached, ending lengthy and, at times, intense negotiations, during which the Labour Department and herself had to intervene.
“We are very pleased to announce that the BHCAWU has agreed after 11 years of no agreement, two years of negotiations, and a few intense days where the Department of Labor had to intervene as mediators. Myself, as the Minister of Labour, had to step in. I am happy to say that the BHCAWU and BHEA have reached an agreement.
“I am just grateful to our Director of Labour, Mr Howard Thompson, our labor legal consultant, Mr Keenan Johnson, and my Cabinet colleagues who have been a part of the process in terms of strategy, and also the negotiating teams at both the BHCAWU and the Atlantis Resort. It was an all-hands-on-deck effort to get to this point of remuneration for the employees. We look forward to this industrial agreement being signed. This is going to be a historic and great moment for the BHCAWU.”
She added: “The hotel has advised that as of Monday, employees can expect to see a lump sum payment in their bank accounts. The hotel has been more than happy to ensure that the workers’ compensation is not delayed but with immediate payment of an initial lump sum payment to the workers affected through this negotiation.”
In a statement to employees, Atlantis indicated that they would receive the first of two lump sum payments outlined in the agreement early next week.
Late last month, the hotel union protested at the foot of the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge, claiming that negotiations with the association were going poorly. Atlantis, the Ocean Club, Lyford Cay Club, and the Town Hotel are the four unionized properties. The union subsequently announced that its members were on work to rule, with promises of further action if concerns were not met.