June 08, 2021
THE mass employment of casual workers is a "major crisis" in Grand Bahama, according to trade union leader Kirk Russell, who accused the government of being a big participant.
Mr Russell, president of the Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association, and vice president of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Trade Union Congress, said the labour movement is deeply concerned about the reported hiring of casual workers at the reopened Grand Lucayan Resort by Lucayan Renewal Holdings.
“We are concerned… that basically almost 100 percent of them are casual workers. And, here again, you have the government setting the trend and the precedent. And these are things we are very deeply concerned about in the labour movement,” he told The Tribune.
Mr Russell said union officials were also disappointed with how former hotel employees were unfairly separated from the Grand Lucayan last year in June and July.
The matter, he said, is before the court and a ruling is expected on Monday.
He said the employment situation in Grand Bahama is a serious problem because many companies are terminating permanent employees and rehiring them as casual workers.
“We witnessed hundreds of Bahamians being sent home from permanent employment during the pandemic, and then what appeared to be happening was those workers were sent to employment agencies only to come right back as casual workers.
“It appears those companies use the opportunity as an excuse to get rid of Bahamian permanent workers and re-engage them as casual workers, putting them at a disadvantage and taking away their benefits, no job security or job protection,” he said.
Mr Russell claims that there is no law in the country to regulate the business of casual workers.
“There is no law to manage it and so there is no such (term) in the (Employment) Act known as a casual worker, we only have a worker, and they are putting people in a lawless position.
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