Hotel union: Atlantis talks progressing

Talks between the Atlantis resort and the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) regarding the hotel’s implementation of a 12-point system and a shift change for housekeepers are “cautiously” progressing, said BHCAWU President Darrin Woods.

Woods, who spoke to The Nassau Guardian on Friday following a meeting with Department of Labour and Atlantis officials, however, noted that industrial action is still looming if a solution cannot be found.

The parties are scheduled to meet again today.

“The union put [forth] its case in terms of the implementation of the shift, so [Atlantis] said they needed to go back and talk to management, and we [will] go back on Monday,” Woods said.

“… There’s been no agreement, either way. There’s not been an agreement to retract, and there’s not been an agreement for what they’ve already gone ahead and implemented.

“But we’ve agreed to continue the dialogue on Monday.”

According to Woods, Atlantis implemented a 12-point system between September 25 and 28 in order to track the lateness and absenteeism of employees, without the input of the union.

He said the union’s industrial agreement addresses discipline for such infractions, but “now they want to go and create their own way” of operation.

As it relates to the shift system, Woods said the system would move employees in the housekeeping department from working the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shifts to working either: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

He said changes cannot be made to an employee’s shift without the employee agreeing to the change and claimed that this was not done before it was proposed.

On Friday, Woods added, “The director [of labor], he did his best to try to bring us together, but fundamentally we just pointed out where they breached the agreement and we wanted them to acknowledge that they’ve breached the agreement and again they didn’t, but we’ve agreed to continue the talks on Monday.”

Asked whether he is optimistic that the talks will bring about a resolution, he said, “One way or the other we have to get it resolved.

“I mean, for me, and for the union really, this heightens the need to hurry up and get an industrial agreement in place, a registered agreement…”

He noted that today’s meeting will determine whether the union will move forward with industrial action.

“I’m not ruling it out,” Woods said.

“I made it clear to them today, despite all of the conversations, we have no agreement, but we are prepared to continue talking.”

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