The Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) will draw down from its union health and welfare fund to provide its nearly 5,000 members food vouchers during these uncertain times, the union’s president said yesterday.
Darrin Woods said he could not say how much the union is drawing down from the fund, or what the value of the vouchers will be, but noted that the vouchers will be made available between April 20–24 for use at Cost Right and Solomon’s stores.
“We have a moral obligation to assist. But more than just that, we know that everyone in the industry has been impacted and so everyone needs to be helped. So what we did was negotiate an advance in that vein, where they would be able to come and collect a food voucher to bring some sort of relief in these hard times,” he told Guardian Business yesterday.
“The details of it, which we cannot get into, will be discussed at our next general meeting, so that the members can know exactly the full veracity of what it is we would have done at this time.”
Woods said the union was granted permission to distribute the vouchers to its members at the union’s headquarters at Workers House beginning next week, so long as they are distributed in the form of a drive through, everyone adheres to social distancing rules, wears a face mask and follows the rules of the emergency powers orders.
“This is unprecedented. We’ve never had a situation where all of the hotels are closed. In addition, businesses are closed as a result of that,” he said.
“Not only that, we also have to look at what is happening globally and this is something that has affected the world at large, and we are just trying to ensure that we do our part as we have been doing since the beginning of this – negotiating with the various government agencies to see how best we can try to make this as humane and smooth as possible for all workers who are affected.”
Employees of the Melia Nassau Beach resort, British Colonial Hilton, The Ocean Club resort, Restaurant Bahamas (KFC), Harborside Resort, the Towne Hotel and Bay View Suites may collect their vouchers on Monday, April 20.
Employees of the Atlantis resort with surnames beginning with A through F may collect their vouchers on Tuesday, April 21; those with surnames beginning with G through P may collect on Wednesday, April 22; those with the surnames beginning with Q through Z may collect on Thursday, April 23.
Friday, April 24 has been reserved for those employees who were unable to collect during their allotted times.
The voucher collection time is between 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day.
Employees have been advised to present valid work or government identification.