Hotel union: Industrial agreement 'paramount'


Tribune Business Reporter

Negotiating and registering a new industrial agreement was yesterday described as "paramount" for the hotel union's new leadership, with elections now set for next Wednesday.

Darren Woods, the Bahamas Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union's (BHCAWU) general secretary, and who is vying for the presidency this time around, told Tribune Business: "We were able to negotiate contracts for all of the other properties, but we were unable to do the Master Contract. For us that is paramount.

"We need to not only negotiate it, but we need to be able to negotiate and sign a registered document so we could have it executed. It's fine to negotiate a contract, but we need one that is going to be registered. With the new amendments to the law that the Christie administration dealt with, all the terms of the conditions of a registered document forms part of the individual terms of condition of employment. That would solidify our members in the industry once we are able to get a registered document signed. That is paramount, first and foremost."

Both the Bahamas Hotel and Restaurant Employers Association and the union have previously confirmed they are behaving as if the terms of the industrial agreement that expired in January 2013 are still in effect.

Four teams vying for the hotel union's leadership nominated yesterday after the Supreme Court last week removed an injunction preventing candidate nominations and voting. That ruling by the court removed an injunction, previously obtained by veteran hotel trade unionist, Dave Beckford, and his Team Destiny election candidates, which blocked a nomination process originally scheduled for last week, Tuesday, May 8.

"Elections are set for next week Wednesday, May 23. That is the reason why we had to try and get before the court because the original date for nomination was May 8," said Mr Woods.

He added that reform to the union's constitution was needed. "Reformation of our constitution is needed now based on what has happened over the past 10 years or so, and all we have gone through," Mr Woods said. "We need to put some things in place to bring our constitution in line with what is happening today. Our union is going to be 60 years old come December 2018."