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Hotels and union hearing postponed

An inter partes hearing between Island Hotel Company Limited, which operates the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort, and the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) has been postponed until March 10, 2020, BHCAWU President Darrin Woods confirmed on Saturday.

The hearing had been scheduled for last Friday.

However, Woods said that there was not sufficient time for the union to respond to the papers in order for the hearing to proceed.

“It was adjourned because we were served with some papers late Thursday,” Woods told The Nassau Guardian the day after the scheduled hearing.

“In order for us to respond to the papers, we had to get an adjournment.

“And the earliest date was March.”

Island Hotel Company Limited, which operates Atlantis resort, was granted an injunction against the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) on Thursday after union members picketed outside the property earlier that day.

The order, which was handed down by Justice Keith Thompson, bans union members who are Atlantis employees from picketing at the resort or “inducing, inciting or intimidating” other employees or guests, and from obstructing or impeding the entrance and exit to the resort until the inter partes hearing.

If members fail to obey the order, they “will be liable to process of execution for the purpose of compelling you to obey the same”.

President and Managing Director of Atlantis Audrey Oswell later called the demonstration “unjustified” and “unlawful”, but insisted that the resort will continue to negotiate in good faith.

A photo of a BHCAWU Union Notice that The Guardian obtained urged union members to continue adhering to the injunction until the March 2020 hearing. The letter was addressed to “all shop stewards & union members” by BHCAWU General Secretary Sheila Burrows.

“Please be advised that the Atlantis vs. Bahamas Hotel Catering & Allied Workers Union injunction remains in effect until the matter is heard in court on March 10, 2020, at which time you will be advised,” the letter read.

“Until such time, the union is restricted from entering the property.

“The union and its members are prohibited from picketing, inciting or intimidating the employees of the resort.

“The president would like for all union members to be guided accordingly,” it continued.

Woods confirmed that negotiations are still ongoing in the meantime.

An overwhelming majority of BHCAWU members had voted to strike after continued difficulties in negotiating a new industrial agreement with their employers.

The members who took part in the vote were employees of Atlantis, the Reef, the Cove, Harborside Resort, Melia Nassau Beach, the British Colonial Hilton, Lyford Cay Club, the Ocean Club and Towne Hotel.

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