Pinder: Unemployment will improve in Q1 2020 despite recent firings

Pinder: Unemployment will improve in Q1 2020 despite recent firings
Director of Labour John Pinder.

Ocean Club terminates 97 employees

Baha Mar expects to terminate 12 more employees

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Director of Labour John Pinder said yesterday that unemployment in The Bahamas is expected to rebound by the first quarter of 2021.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Pinder advised that 97 people were terminated from Ocean Club on Tuesday.

“While it was bad, it was good timing in the sense that all of the persons, my information is, received good packages,” he said.

“They were satisfied with the settlement they received as it relates to redundancy pay.”

Additionally, Pinder indicated that Baha Mar is expected to make another 12 employees redundant.

“I call it good timing because there are a couple of new hotels coming on stream and they will be looking for qualified hoteliers who will be able to fill various positions,” the labour director said.

“It will give them an opportunity to apply to these new places.”

Unemployment in the country has been projected at 40 percent due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Thousands of hotel workers have been furloughed since March, and businesses in the private sector have been shuttered.

The reopening of Atlantis and Baha Mar in early December saw a return to work of some employees, however, many remain in limbo.

Pinder noted that most of the individuals who became unemployed during the pandemic were from the tourism sector, including businesses who relied on cruise ships for its trickle-down employment.

“We are hoping that is something that can come on stream early in the New Year,” he continued.

“While we don’t see it happening before March, based on what we are hearing, the quicker that happens, the better it is for the rest of these persons who are still in the extended lay off position who may end up being made redundant.”

Pinder explained that once the state of emergency expires, which was reissued in December, hotels have an additional 30 days to decide what they will do with those furloughed employees — either send them back to work or make them redundant.

“It is still going to be an unpredictable number of persons who may find themselves receiving redundancy packages,” he said.

The labour director noted, however, that there are signs of the economy rebounding at this time that may lead to more jobs.

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