Workers confront Christie
NASSAU — Scores of irate former Wyndham Nassau Resort workers and leaders of several of the country’s labour unions yesterday marched on parliament in protest of the layoff of 140 employees from the resort last week, demanding that the government intervene on the workers’ behalf.
Holding up placards and chanting, workers and union executives came between Prime Minister Perry Christie and the entrance of the House of Assembly as he made his way to the lower chamber.
Christie paused briefly to speak with Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union president, Nicole Martin, before entering parliament, assuring her that the government was doing all it could, and promising to speak with her later.
Before Minister of Labour Shane Gibson entered parliament, he told reporters that the recent layoffs were unfortunate when considering the concessions the government has given Baha Mar, but there was only so much the government could do.
“I don’t own Baha Mar,” Gibson said. “When you say, ‘Give assurances’, we can only do our jobs. Our job is to make sure we protect the workers through legislation and through any means possible legally.
“You don’t want me to tell them something today to make them feel good and tomorrow I can’t deliver on it. I don’t own Baha Mar.”
But Martin said she was less than confident that the labour minister was doing all he could.
“I am not satisfied with something said to a camera that sounds right,” she said. “At the end of the day we need to secure the employment and possibilities for employment for Bahamians – all people able to work in The Bahamas.”
Union executives have said they are irate with Baha Mar’s management for not giving notice of the layoffs in accordance with the union’s industrial agreement. (Nassau Guardian)