Lucayan Renewal Holdings Limited (LRHL) filed an action in the Supreme Court on July 31 in a bid to get the Bahamas Industrial Tribunal to toss a trade dispute filed in 2017, according to LRHL Chairman Michael Scott.
On Saturday, while referring to the Supreme Court filing, Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Obie Ferguson said it was “mind boggling” that LRHL, a government-established special purpose vehicle tasked with preparing the Grand Lucayan resort for a buyer, was “suing” the government.
However, Scott shot that down, instead describing Ferguson’s comments as “inflammatory, misguided and inaccurate spin”.
“The singular intention of LRHL at this juncture is to have struck or stayed the improper and misguided trade dispute initiated by Mr. Ferguson,” Scott said in a statement yesterday.
He added, “The proceedings recently filed by LRHL are not contentious, but as a matter of procedure, it is necessary to conclude the outstanding matter and to include the attorney general and the tribunal when a party to a trade dispute is seeking relief under the constitution.”
Scott noted that an industrial agreement between the hotel and its former union expired on June 17, 2016.
He said the expiration was in accordance with the Industrial Relations Act and “numerous court rulings”.
“Mr. Ferguson failed to negotiate a new agreement on behalf of the former hotel union,” Scott said.
“Despite no agreement being in place, the former hotel union filed a trade dispute in 2017…”
Scott continued, “…Almost three years later, the parties still have no resolution from the Industrial Tribunal despite intimation by the tribunal, that the trade dispute proceedings filed by the former hotel union were misconceived.
“LRHL is desirous of concluding the former hotel union’s legal challenge that was fraught with procedural and jurisdictional mistakes and the current step by LRHL seeks to do just that and nothing more.”
In February, 164 line staff were paid $3.2 million in voluntary separation packages (VSEPs).
In June, 72 managers at the resort received $3.3 million in VSEPs.
As a result, according to Scott, “the tribunal action should never have been initiated”.