Thursday, Mar 21, 2019
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Foulkes hopeful GB hotel managers’ settlement coming soon

The voluntary separation packages (VSEPs) for the managerial staff at the Grand Lucayan resort in Grand Bahama are expected to be settled next week, Labour Minister Dion Foulkes said.

“I am hopeful that it can be settled as early as next week,” Foulkes said.

He added: “I am very hopeful that we will be able to settle the matter to the comfort of both the union and the government. I don’t think that we’re too far apart from what Minister D’Aguilar has explained to me but I am very hopeful that, that would be sorted out.

“As you know, this is not a union dispute or a confrontation matter. This is just a question of a voluntary separation of employment program, which is different than if you have, for example, a trade dispute.”

The government purchased the resort for $65 million with $30 million paid upfront.

Following the purchase, more than 200 employees applied for VSEPs.

The Grand Lucayan resort had approximately 400 employees.

President of the Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association Obie Ferguson is seeking over $4 million for the 90 managers at the resort who have opted for VSEPs.

The last offer made by the board was around $3.2 million, according to Ferguson.

He said the parties are unable to reach an agreement regarding the severance pay for the years of service for each employee.

The first cohort of line staff at the resort received its VSEPs on February 1, 2019.

The Guardian understands that they were given approximately $3.2 million.

Last week, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said he was turning his focus to settling the separation packages for the managerial staff.

“I intend to address that next week,” he said.

“My first focus was to get the line staff behind me. Now, I’m bringing a focus to the management and I will commence in earnest trying to bring some resolution to that next week.”

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