September 12, 2012
Months after Bahamas Supermarkets Limited (BSL) sold the City Market food store chain to Super Value, hundreds of former employees are still awaiting severance packages. Now, Prime Minister Perry Christie has confirmed the matter is one step closer to being resolved. He shared with reporters yesterday following the weekly Cabinet meeting that he spoke with representatives of former City Market employees and its former owners, Bahamas Supermarkets Limited (BSL).
"Yesterday, I spoke with representatives of City Market and I told them that I was not quite ready to resume talks. I had met with Mr. Mark Finlayson and representatives of his family," Christie pointed out. "I have reviewed the position as to where we are. I know offers are being formulated. I indicated to them that we are much nearer to a resolution as it relates to City Market's position than we were before."
The prime minister's comments come after the doors of the former City Market food store on Cable Beach opened two months ago, with a new name, Quality Supermarket, which employs 70 individuals. Super Value owner Rupert Roberts acquired the struggling food store chain from BSL. The sale was finalized in June. At the time there was also a severance issue involving the more than 300 workers employed at the former City Market stores.
City Market's former inventory control auditor, Wanslaw Turnquest, revealed to Guardian Business that hundreds of former City Market employees are owed in excess of $3 million in severance pay. "We are going after that money. We plan to get every single dime that is owed to us, as the matter has yet to be resolved.
This is outrageous, as BSL is a publicly-traded company and certain procedures should have been followed," he explained. BSL President Mark Finlayson said in a previous interview that the former employees of City Market would receive their severance pay once the Super Value deal was finalized. He also pointed out that only those employees that were not seeking employment with Super Value, or are eligible for retirement, will receive severance. Trans Island Traders held a 78 percent stake in City Market's former parent company, BSL.
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