Government Intervention And The Hotel Workers

Tuesday 19th, February 2013 / 08:07 Published by

It is never a pleasant time when a large number of workers lose their jobs. Some will find it difficult to meet their responsibilities to their families. Some will have great difficulty finding new jobs.

Yet, we must always remember that in the capitalist society we live in owners have the ability to increase or reduce their workforces.

No one in the private sector should assume they have an eternal right to a specific job. Too many Bahamians are of that view.

That being said, there are labor laws in The Bahamas that govern how dismissals should occur and what pay is owed to the dismissed. When there is a dispute the aggrieved party can petition the courts. This is our system.

Since Wyndham Nassau Resort recently terminated 140 workers, the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union and the terminated workers have agitated for the government to do “something” to help them. What can the government do? This is a private dispute between workers and their now former employer.

The company has the right to fire them. If workers think laws were not followed regarding the dismissal process or the payout made they should pursue the matter via the courts.

Politicians should not unduly inflate the hopes of workers about getting their former jobs back after they have been fired.

Grandstanding and promising to speak to the owner only make the workers think the government can work magic and conjure up those same old jobs. Those workers should accept that it is now time to move on to the next opportunity.

Owners take great risk investing in businesses. Many risk bankruptcy. The purpose of that business is to provide a return for investors. To achieve that at times you hire more staff; and at others you terminate some staff. That is the creative nature of capitalism, which has led to extraordinary prosperity across the world.

Baha Mar is hoping to create thousands of permanent jobs by the time it opens at the end of next year. It plans on investing billions in The Bahamas. It has already spent a significant sum on the hotels that will make up the property.

On the journey to completion, its owners will have to make tough choices in order to protect the overall viability of the project such as letting people go. That is the nature of business.

Perry Christie and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) can’t save every job. The people should know this, as should the union representing them and the politicians who govern.

– Editorial from The Nassau Guardian

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