NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Union representatives said yesterday they are prepared to ensure Meliá workers receive severance pay after the resort announced a two-year closure, during which time it will undertake $100 million in renovations.
Obie Ferguson, Trade Union Congress (TUC) president, told Eyewitness News: “I received a letter today from the general manager for Meliá indicating that beginning March 1st to March 4th they intend to make redundant the members of the bargaining unit and that the closure of the hotel would be for renovation purposes.
“They say it would take 24 months or thereabouts. My position is that the redundancies must be made pursuant to the procedures mandated by law.
“Those procedures require that certain things are done with respect to the notification of the union, dealing with the selection process of the union and the company and the whole question of reinstatement once the renovation is completed. Those are things that must be signed off on by the union and the company.”
Ferguson, who is representing the Bahamas Hotel Management Association, said he wrote to the resort’s general manager indicating that he and his group are prepared to meet with him and come up with an arrangement beneficial to all parties.
Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) President Darrin Woods told Eyewitness News: “The communication they sent to us speaks specifically to Section 26 (A) of the Employment Act that deals with redundancy.
“They (employees) have to receive their severance pay. That’s a foregone conclusion. There is no back-and-forth about that.
“On our end, we just have to ensure that all of the calculations are correct, but we wouldn’t know that until we look at the start dates.”
Woods added: “The unfortunate thing is the Employment Act only allows for the employee to get paid up to 12 years. Discussions have been had on raising that ceiling and we have to see what happens there.”
Woods noted that under his union, just over 200 employees could lose their jobs.