Tuesday, Mar 26, 2019
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Impasse over resort VSEPs 

President of the Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association Obie Ferguson said yesterday he is seeking roughly $5 million for the 91 managers at the Grand Lucayan resort who have decided to take voluntary separation packages (VSEPs).

Ferguson, who is the lead negotiator for the managerial staff, said the association and the board of Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd., which is chaired by attorney Michael Scott, are at an impasse.

“[Scott] said there is no need to come here (to Freeport) because we accept the terms, but when we got the offer, the offer [was] not acceptable,” Ferguson said during a press conference.

“They would’ve voted unanimously. The workers voted unanimously against what was put forth by the Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd.”

When asked yesterday about the amount requested by the association, Scott toldThe Nassau Guardian, “That’s not happening.”

Lucayan Renewal is a special purpose vehicle tasked with running the property and preparing it for sale.

In January, the managers requested over $4 million in VSEPs, while the offer from the board was around $3.2 million.

Ferguson told The Nassau Guardian that the board’s latest offer was $3.1 million.

The board has agreed to pay out severance for each year up to 12 years maximum, despite some employees working in excess of those years.

However, Ferguson said that is not good enough.

“We’re not asking for anything different,” he said.

“They don’t want to be treated less than the unions in Nassau.”

Scott said, “There is no agreement between the hotel and the management of the union; therefore the whole process is flawed.”

The association and the board met at the Industrial Tribunal in Freeport in an attempt “to sort that out,” according to Ferguson.

He said the judge requested Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd. to present the association with a breakdown of how it arrived at the roughly $3.1 million offer.

Ferguson said he hopes the issue is addressed before the next tribunal hearing on March 20.

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.

In February, 150 line staff at the resort received their payouts.

The Guardian understands that they received approximately $3.2 million.

Last month, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar 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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