Director of Labour John Pinder yesterday urged the owners of SkyBahamas to pay its employees.
“They are going to have to make a decision because the longer they keep the staff employed, the more the redundancy will add up,” Pinder said.
“If they are at a situation where they are just trying to meet the requirements to continue services as an airline, then I think it is important for them to speak to their staff to try and make some arrangement as to how they will pay whatever is owed to them retroactive to the time when they were not able to fly.
“They have to do that. The employers have to understand that people have financial obligations and this is poor timing in that school is about to open and people want to get their kids ready for school.
“…So you need to know whether the employer is in a position to continue with your employment or if they are going to make it redundant, and if they are going to make it redundant, they have to have that cash ready to pay you what is owed to you.”
Thirty-five of SkyBahamas’ 48 employees filed a trade dispute claiming they are “owed salary and other entitled benefits in accordance with the Labour Act of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas”.
The trade dispute was filed on August 8 at the Department of Labour.
In an interview with The Nassau Guardian on Sunday, several managers at the company said that they have not been paid since June 15, and voiced frustration over the lack of communication from the owners of the company.
SkyBahamas was grounded on July 8 due to its lack of an air operator certificate (AOC) following several meetings with the BCAA.
SkyBahamas Chief Executive Officer Captain Randy Butler has said that the airline has lost millions of dollars in fixed costs and expected revenue and has also taken a major hit to its reputation since its planes have been grounded.
SkyBahamas was evicted from its location at the airport over a week ago. The company was also evicted from its office location on August 17 by AOG Maintenance Company Ltd.
“I often say that when the employers are in business, they have to understand that sometimes these things can happen, and the old people say, you must put something aside for rainy days,” Pinder said.
“So it would be good for them to start to practice to put a portion of your net profit aside to ensure that when these things happen, you are in a position to pay the loads of staff.”