BAHAMAS – Sandals workers line up to reapply for old jobs
NASSAU – Despite being some of the 600 plus employees made redundant at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort last week, several former workers Monday expressed no bitterness in having to reapply for their old jobs.
In fact, some of the former Sandals employees present at the resort’s job fair at Christ the King Anglican Church in Ridgeland Park West encouraged their former co-workers to “come out” and interview for the very same jobs they held prior to August 15, with one saying they’ll “probably feel better after coming out and being interviewed”.
The former employees The Tribune spoke with also unanimously heralded the simplicity of the interviewing process at Monday’s job fair, which was not particularly busy, and also expressed optimism that they would be successful in reclaiming their former jobs.
The four-day job fair kicked off a week after more than 600 employees were made redundant at the Cable Beach resort so that it could conduct renovations.
Autreen Rose, who spent 14 years working at Sandals in the laundry department, said news of the redundancies did give her a “bad feeling” initially, but she has since shrugged off the bitterness and is optimistic about what lies ahead.
“It is what it is. It’s not my hotel, and I only could go by the [rules] they put in,” she said. “So I’m here, I reapplied, and I feel positive about it.
“It was a bad feeling, but today it felt much different,” she added. “And I have a positive idea that I probably will be coming back to Sandals. If not, move on and look for something else to do.”
She also urged her former co-workers to put aside whatever bitter feelings they may have and reapply to work at the resort.
“Well you got to come out find out what’s going on, and you got to come out and feel the way I feel,” she said. “You’ll probably feel better after coming out and being interviewed. It feels very good, a good feeling.”
Arizona Rolle, a dining room supervisor who would have celebrated her 19th year with the resort in November, also suggested that she harbours no ill will towards Sandals.
“For myself personally I love what I do,” she said. “I have a passion for what I have done, and situations going on, media, around us in Sandals. It’s beyond us. God has us covered. So persons may still be angry about it –– it’s nothing that [we] can do. God controls everything and let his will be done.”
She added: “I know persons might be fearing that they’re going to go through these long drawn out questions, hard interview – it’s not hard. And for those old Sandals employees if you want to reapply you should if you have it in your heart’s desire.”
Latoysa Walkes, who spent 18 years at the resort in multiple capacities from kitchen helper to hostess, said she has no hostility towards Sandals.
“. . . I was employed there for 18 years and I loved my job and I loved what I did,” she said. “It was a pleasure. And up to today I still feel positive about the company. And if the outcome turns out to be negative, I’m going to look at it as the positive side. Because everyone is coming here today to give it another try. So we love the job, it was the best job to us. I’ve been there so long, and that’s why I came back to give it a shot today.”
She added: “. . . If I am given another opportunity for a job I’m going to take it, but I love Sandals, it was a nice place, and the job was always a happy job to be on.”
Labour Minister Shane Gibson said the government has been advised that the resort will be closed for eight weeks as it carries out renovations because hotel officials said the work could not be done in the presence of guests.
Last Monday, many of the workers said they were caught off guard by the news, with scores of them showing up to work in uniform only to be told they no longer had jobs.
It is unclear if all the terminated employees will be rehired when the resort re-opens in October. The first two days of the job fair were exclusively for the fired employees, however.
In a statement last week, Sandals said it made employees redundant in order to carry out necessary repairs to the resort, which are being “fast-tracked” at an estimated cost of $4m.
Last week, however, Gibson said he believes Sandals’ actions were an attack on the Bahamas Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (BMAWU), which has fought for years to be recognised as the bargaining agent for Sandals’ employees.