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Still no progress in Atlantis dispute, union leader says

It is extremely likely that Atlantis employees will take a strike vote before the end of the year, according to Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) President Darrin Woods.

When asked the likelihood of the union requesting a strike vote before 2019, Woods said, “On a scale of one to 10, [I would say] 85.”

The union is taking issue with the implementation of a 12-point-system and a shift change for housekeepers reportedly without input from the union.

According to Woods, Atlantis implemented a 12-point system between September 25 and 28 in order to track the lateness and absenteeism of employees.

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.

When the union first raised the issues on November 19, Atlantis said only that it will address any concerns with the Department of Labour as required by longstanding protocols.

On Friday, Woods told The Nassau Guardian that talks with Atlantis were progressing.

But yesterday, he said no significant progress was made during a meeting with the resort on Monday afternoon.

“We’re actually having an emergency meeting [Wednesday evening] with our shop stewards to chart the course forward for our next course of action,” Woods said.

He added: “We have to because we can’t stay stagnant. You know what happens to stagnant water? We have to keep pressing on. The thing for us is to keep rallying our ground troops and the shop stewards are like our persons on the ground so we can say to them what [is] our next course of action.”

Today’s meeting will determine whether the union will advance to the next level of industrial action, which is a go slow. If no resolution is brought, the next stage of industrial action would be an outright strike.

Director of Labour John Pinder said it appeared as if Atlantis and the BHCAWU were making progress in their negotiations.

“I think it’s moving forward,” Pinder said.

“I think it’s [safe] to say negotiations are moving forward in an amicable way.”

He added: “Atlantis will advise the Department of Labour [today] as to their decision on the 12-point-system and removing that.”

Pinder said the two parties will meet on Friday.

 

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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