Union pleased with Grand Lucayan VSEPs

Union pleased with Grand Lucayan VSEPs

Dorsett says employees will be pleased with packages


NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Commonwealth Union of Hotel Services and Allied Workers (CUHSAW) President Michelle Dorsett said yesterday that the board of Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama has made an offer relating to voluntary separation packages (VSEPs) that she believes employees will be pleased with.

Speaking to the media following a meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis at his office, which involved more than two dozen union leaders, Dorsett said employees will receive what they are entitled to.

While she did not divulge the details on that offer, Dorsett said, “At the end of the day it will be the best for our workers and our workers will be quite satisfied, and quite happy with what they will be getting. The offer which we received and the offer that we put forward, it will be accepted.”

Of the meeting with the prime minister, Dorsett said, “It was very successful and [there was] understanding.

“We are hopeful and faithful — we all have that faith for our workers that we will succeed in this process with the voluntary [separation] packages.”

In the Senate last week, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes foreshadowed that the VSEP process could be settled before Christmas.

In October, Michael Scott, the chairman of the government’s special purpose vehicle (SPV), estimated it will cost the government over $3 million to finance the exercise.

He revealed recently that the unions at the resort requested payouts that exceeded the resort’s offer by $4.6 million.

According to the chairman, The Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association, which represents middle management, demanded $5.4 million in payouts for its members – double the resort’s board’s offer.

He said the CUHSAW, which represents line staff, requested over $3 million — nearly triple the resort’s $1.1 million offer.

Around 150 employees have opted to accept packages — 60 managers and around 90 line-staff employees.

Yesterday, Dorsett said that figure remains the same.

The government purchased the resort for $65 million, with $30 million paid up front.

It borrowed the balance from the former owners, which will be a government-guaranteed mortgage paid over three and a half years.

The SPV, Lucayan Renewal Holdings, was set up to hold the assets and manage the process of the resale.

While Scott originally projected it would take three to six months to resell the resort following the September purchase, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar noted last month that the government expects the resort to be sold by the second quarter of next year.