Red caps blue

Airport workers cry foul over plan to relocate them

Less than a month after the red caps service at Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) moved to a new level with the launch of the Platinum Airport Porter Service, the 60 workers are accusing management of GAIA of treating them worse than animals.

They say they have been given until month-end to get out of the current accommodation provided for them by the Shelly Williams-led Platinum Services Limited, which was recently awarded the contract to manage them.

Before that, the workers said they were forced to use a rat and human faeces-infested container with a ceiling that was about to fall, as their lunchroom.

However, after taking over the contact, Williams, the wife of prominent businessman Ralph Bizzy Williams, reportedly invested about $20,000 to refurbish and transform the old minimart at the airport into a classy air conditioned lounge that not only accommodates the red caps and their luggage trollies in a separate, adjoining space, but other staff and custodians who offer other luxury airport services at GAIA.

A “blue” group of Red Caps pondering their next move after an ultimatum from airport management to relocate from luxurious working conditions to less commodious ones at the airport.  

Suggesting that it was “the best thing” that ever happened to  them, the workers complained that the airport’s management was now seeking to “push” them into a cramped room with no air conditioning, electric wiring or plumbing.

Barbados TODAY visited both spaces today and was able to observe first-hand the workers’ concerns.

Chesterfield Black Rock Gibson, who has been a red cap for 31 years, said the treatment he has been getting from Platinum Services Limited was the best he has ever had.

“They [GAIA management] had us in a lunchroom down there. It is a container, full of rat mess, human mess and a lot of rotten wood and all the ceiling dropping down. And this is the best time we getting treat,” Gibson emphasized.

Another red cap, Beresford Phillips, also sang the praises of Platinum Services.

“For all my 40 years, this is the best time I have ever been treated. I never got treated the way that Mrs Williams treating us,” Phillips said, while accusing GAIA of bad treatment.

“Them people don’t care anything about the red caps. The red caps pay money every day to use the luggage trollies and I complained that they need repairing and management tell me, ‘the airport don’t make any money off the red caps,’” Phillips claimed, adding that if it were not for Williams the trollies would never have been repaired.

His position was supported by Victoria Whittaker who contended that the airport management’s decision to relocate them to less commodious facilities was an indication that they felt the red caps were not good enough to enjoy their existing luxury.

Today, Williams confirmed that Platinum Services had been given a deadline to relocate, and even though she admitted that the company had only been given temporary permission to use the current space, she said she had applied for permanent usage with the intention of paying any “reasonable” additional costs so her staff, and the red caps, could enjoy proper facilities befitting the luxury service they offer at the airport.

When Barbados TODAY reached out to GAIA Acting Chief Executive Officer Neville Boxhill he declined to comment, saying he was not aware of any contentious issues affecting the red caps.

However, the workers said they had heard through the grapevine that the former minimart space was being allocated to a luxury hotel for use as a lounge.

31 Responses to Red caps blue

  1. Kevin January 20, 2018 at 12:32 am

    Is this type of service offered at airports worldwide? Red caps, I think your days are numbered unfortunately.

    • Peter January 20, 2018 at 1:43 am

      Every major airport in the world has skycaps of one form or another. They won’t be disappearing any time soon.

      • Belfast January 20, 2018 at 10:34 pm

        Yes, every major airport has red caps, but Barbados is one of the only, if not the only airport, where red caps meet passengers in the arrival hall before the Customs Officers, to transport luggage a couple of dozen feet outside. Pay trolleys may very well make them redundant.

    • Sue Donym January 20, 2018 at 6:58 am

      But @Kevin did you miss the larger point – that their grouse is with their accommodation, not their job?

  2. jrsmith January 20, 2018 at 7:02 am

    The treatment of bajans in Barbados from all quarters comes of no surprise to me, because they have no political representation and these companies all behave like the politicians , certain people in Barbados is above the law and have the protective backing of our politicians , the brown envelope under the door brigade……..
    That’s where we are at in Barbados, bajans have no chance to fight for basic rights been treated like ***t …………………..

    • Jennifer January 20, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Love this. Spot on JR >>>>>same yesterday as today. when your own treat you like $hi* what else do you eXpect the OTHERS to do????? 6 of 12 is half dozen.

  3. Saga Boy January 20, 2018 at 7:16 am

    I Hope I don’t hear them complaining in the future because the person taking over does not have a reputation for treating employees kindly. Mind you they should not have been operating in unhealthy conditions.

  4. Janine January 20, 2018 at 7:49 am

    And the “New lounge for a luxury Hotel ” I wonder which one that is as if we didn’t know . Just what else is Frumble going to promise them tax free at the expence of others?

  5. Olutoye Walrond
    Olutoye Walrond January 20, 2018 at 8:45 am

    “They [GAIA management] had us in a lunchroom down there. It is a container, full of rat mess, human mess and a lot of rotten wood and all the ceiling dropping down. And this is the best time we getting treat,”

    When will the negrocrats who now run the farm learn to treat their fellow beings with dignity and respect? How can you confine human beings to a room with rats and other filth?

    • Sue Donym January 20, 2018 at 9:54 am

      @Olutoye Walrond, some are more equal than others. How else would you explain which facility was chosen as the luxury hotel’s lounge?

    • Gillian Skeete
      Gillian Skeete January 20, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      It’s disgusting and there is NO justification for this at all on any level. The ones wh imposed this should make that their staff space! See how they like it!!

  6. Angela January 20, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Really, all these comments , do we have the full picture of this issue?

    • Sue Donym January 20, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Full picture? Maybe not… but do you need to see the whole house to know that you’ve got a leak in the bathroom?

  7. Bajan Sebastian
    Bajan Sebastian January 20, 2018 at 10:00 am

    no why most times it so because yall get the less money,so in reality them n give a wuk up bout wanna comfort,hence the frustration creating unfriendly customer service ..

    • Gillian Skeete
      Gillian Skeete January 20, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      I have always had great customer service over the years from redcaps at the airport. They treat you like you are human unlike some of the other services there. Always polite helpful very cool nice people. I’ll add the new ones can learn a lot from the seasoned redcaps who are awesome!

    • Bajan Sebastian
      Bajan Sebastian January 20, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Gillian Skeete let me reiterate if ur put in a hostile environment it can create unfriendly services,wasnt saying thats this case with the redcaps,but thats what happens in many incidents …

  8. Saga Boy January 20, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Sometimes it is the same workers who are responsible for rat infested offices because of dirty habits.

  9. Alex Alleyne January 20, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Seriously, have anyone ever gave one of you guys BDS$2.00 dollars to carry out a suitcase ?. You guys always speak in “foreign currency” in carrying out any activity at the Air port.
    But that have nothing to do with the people not fixing the place.
    When you buy a plane ticket , take a good at the “FEES AND TAXES”, make you go WOW.

  10. Ann Szebenyi
    Ann Szebenyi January 20, 2018 at 10:49 am

    This makes me wonder now how clean the trollies are that carry our luggage out to the taxi stand..

    • Gillian Skeete
      Gillian Skeete January 20, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      As clean as your luggage after being on a plane

  11. Gillian Skeete
    Gillian Skeete January 20, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Absolutely disgraceful how the redcaps have been so disrespected! Why would there not be proper staff room set up for them? This is so horrible to read. They work hard and are really the first pleasant frontline people you see and get greeted by when arriving and at the luggage area. I feel I’ve arrived once greeted by a person wearing a redcap. A
    real asset to the airport. I’m shocked to read this article and how some long time employees have been treated. Can you imagine doing the job for decades and being shoved into a disgusting nasty staff area as has been described here? These lovely people should be awarded recognition for all the years of service. My first trip here and anytime I get to go away and return I always look for the person with that redcap. Always a friendly greeting and when you are looked at in the eyes you can see it’s genuine. I really hope who ever is in charge of the staff quarters will make sure they have an exceptional staff space. This needs to be fixed and now! Much respect to all the redcap staff past and present.

  12. Adrian Hinds January 20, 2018 at 11:33 am

    I think I should have the option to use a red cap or push my own cart. The same with self serve or full service at gas stations.

    • Belfast January 20, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      One of the potential dangers of self-serve at petrol stations is the likelihood of setting yourself afire due to the build-up of static electricity while driving and which finds its way to ground via the delivery nozzle, the tank’s filler neck and the driver’s body. No petrol station in Barbados, as far as I know, have proper provisions for a driver to ground him/herself on dismounting, in order to dissipate the build-up of static electricity to ground.

  13. Donild Trimp January 20, 2018 at 11:39 am

    I have criticized the lazy Government workers and some stupid workers in the banks because I saw and was given a reason to do so first hand.

    I cannot say the same about these red-cap workers. These red-cap workers are genuinely courteous, respectful and hardworking. They deserve to be treated better.

    For the GAIA management to threat these red-cap workers with such callous disrespect is shameful.

  14. luther thorne January 20, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Not only were red caps treated badly but many workers in Barbados are subjected to substandard conditions because somebody feels that workers deserve nothing good and should not be happy. There are some people who just do not like to see others happy.

    Somebody at the Airport feels that the Red Caps getting treat too good, probably better than them so their mission is to give the Red Caps grief.

    The gender of such persons and their agenda would not surprise me. There are some people in Barbados who just treat others badly for no good reason.

    Kudos to Shelly Williams for having a good heart. She is indeed a Gem.

  15. Mack January 20, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Fellas hold on!! The Williams are reputable people, work with them and they will resolve these issues.

    At the root of most of these issues are money and attitude.

  16. Mack January 20, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Tell the fella in the back that there is no eating or drinking in the lounge.

  17. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce January 20, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Red Caps, they got no manners, they don’t know how to approach people properly. Say no thanks to one, the language is like the sewers. They think when one come off a long haul flight you come to pay their wages. Yes I’ve seen & witness the behaviour it’s embarrassing.

  18. Alex Alleyne January 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    @Sue D ( Jan .20 , 9:54am), “some are more equal than others”. Like saying , “You got the biggest half”…..LOL.

  19. Sue January 20, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Each year we use the services of the redcaps, and tip them decently. They are polite and get us through the airport nice and quick! But, it is a dying trade as we do not see them at any other airports either in the U.S. or Europe. Good luck to them. They deserve fair treatment

  20. F.A.Rudder January 20, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    The present airport manager has priority in all matters relating to conditional matters such as safety, health , accomodation and maintenence activities; his role must be activated to these discrepancies before the minister of aviation or transport intervenes. I would wish that all identities involve corrispond to discrepancies through its priority levels. I’m elated that Mrs Williams has kept good moral value, interest and wellbeing to these courteous, productive, hospitable workers. We wish you well Mrs williams and to all you Red Caps.


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