Grand Lucayan begins employee separations; 165 will be impacted
Part of the conditions of the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort to Royal Caribbean International and ITM Group, is a phased separation of the resort’s employees, which began on Wednesday, according a statement from Lucayan Renewal Holdings Limited (LRHL), the special purpose vehicle created to acquire all of the resort’s assets. The separation exercise will affect about 165 people and will continue until the end of July.
The government has spent more than $8.5 million on employee severance packages to date.
Bahamas Port Investments Limited – a partnership between Royal Caribbean and ITM Group, will completely redevelop the property, though it is not yet fully understood how much the companies have had to rethink their time lines because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On March 2, Bahamas Port Investments Limited signed the deal to take control of the Grand Lucayan, obligating LRHL to complete severance exercises “prior to the transfer of ownership”.
“The severance exercise follows the complete exhaustion of all vacation leave bonuses and the National Insurance Board’s 13-week unemployment benefit, estimated at an overall cost of $1,837,473.01 for 116 employees,” the LRHL release stated.
“The formula for the payments to the presently departing employees, some of whom have been employed with the hotel for twenty years, is based upon the same ministerial-approved calculation as that of the former employees who received separation packages totaling $6,704,508 under the two voluntary separation exercises held in 2019.
“The 2019 exercises were fully supported by the Commonwealth Union of Hotel Service and Allied Workers and the Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association.
“Essential line staff and management staff will remain engaged on a part-time schedule, or as needed basis, until the transfer of ownership. This will include administration, security, golf course and property maintenance.”
The government took possession of the property on September 11, 2018 from owner Hutchison Whampoa, in order to preserve jobs at the embattled resort complex and eventually exact a sale. That sale came from Royal Caribbean and ITM Group after negotiations with numerous parties, the government stated.
“The administration’s predetermined strategy was intended to save jobs, stabilize the operation and to immediately market for sale to a reputable operator, the premier 1,250-room beach front property, inclusive of three hotels, 18-hole PGA-rated golf course and 20,000-square-feet casino,” the release noted.