Atlantis ends impasse with union

Atlantis confirmed yesterday it has addressed all concerns raised by the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU), ending an impasse that had existed in recent days.

“All of the matters that the union had expressed their concerns over have been addressed by the resort and we do not consider there to be any outstanding concerns that would warrant any industrial actions,” said Atlantis in a statement.

“Not only do we not see a basis for a strike vote, but have asked the union to withdraw any disputes filed thus far.

“We can only assume that the Department of Labour would endorse this position.”

Director of Labour John Pinder also confirmed yesterday that Atlantis took the issues raised by the union off the table, so he said he does not understand why the union has requested to take a strike vote on December 18.

The union had taken issue with the implementation of a new disciplinary system and a shift change for housekeepers, claiming it had no input in those decisions. 

The disciplinary system is a measurable means of accurately tracking lateness and absenteeism, according to the resort. Employees would receive points for arriving at work late, leaving early without permission, missing work without permission, etc.

According to a communication Atlantis sent to its staff, now that the resort has reverted to its old disciplinary system in light of the union’s complaints, unionized workers would receive their first written warning after showing up for work late twice. They would receive their second written warning after being late a fourth time and a third written warning after being late a sixth time.

Unionized employees would receive their fourth written warning/suspension or termination after being late eight times.

Atlantis is, however, putting in place the new disciplinary system for non-unionized workers.

Non-unionized workers would not get their first written warning until their sixth time being late. The second warning would come after their 12th time being late and the third warning would come after the 18th time coming in late.

The fourth written warning/suspension or termination would come for the non-unionized workers after 24 times late. 

Atlantis will also be more lenient to non-unionized workers over departure from work, compared to the action that will be taken against unionized workers.

The Nassau Guardian understands that Atlantis was attempting to subject all employees – unionized and non-unionized – to that more lenient disciplinary system now in place for non-unionized employees only.

Atlantis is keeping its housekeeping shifts of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. in place.

The Nassau Guardian understands that Atlantis sent two letters to hotel union president Darrin Woods – one on December 6 and the other on December 9 – advising that it will no longer make any changes that would impact union members.

Woods claimed yesterday he had not seen the correspondence. 

“I understand that the letter is at the office,” Woods said.

He added: “I have not seen the letter because I was off the island. I would have to see what the letter says first.”

When asked if the details of the letter could impact the union’s decision to move forward with industrial action, Woods said, “Well, we would have to go back to the Department of Labour and have the dispute settled.

“The only reason that we filed the dispute to start with was that, in our view, they violated our industrial agreement. If those terms that we applied for the strike vote for and our dispute, if those things are addressed, then we have no issue.”


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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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