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Hotel workers to hear restart plans

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Hotel workers are expected to hear plans this week designed to help kick-start the industry after it was devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bermuda Industrial Union was granted large group exemptions for four meetings to be held tomorrow and Thursday.

Chris Furbert, the BIU president, said last week that the talks were related to a proposed memorandum of understanding with the Hotel Employers of Bermuda.

Stephen Todd, the chief executive of the Bermuda Hotel Association and the HEB, explained yesterday: “We're very appreciative of the fact that our social partner, the BIU, was receptive to sitting down with us and considering a draft MOU.

“The objective is purely to try to determine how we can achieve a reopening of as many properties as possible and working in conjunction with our union colleagues to get as many of our laid-off colleagues back to work as soon as possible.”

He declined to provide details about what was included in the proposed agreement before the union membership meetings, which will be held at the Fairmont Southampton and the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.

But Mr Todd added: “There are provisions within the draft MOU that we believe will allow us to collectively get as many of our properties reopened and colleagues back to work as soon as possible.”

The BHA website said that the HEB was a registered trade union with the responsibility “to engage in collective bargaining with the hotel division of the BIU”.

Mr Todd added that Bermuda had 41 licensed hotels and 29 were BHA members.

He said that 16 of the association's member properties were back in operation.

Coco Reef, in Paget, and The Reefs, in Southampton, returned to business last week.

Mr Todd said: “We're looking for other properties that have indicated that they're looking to reopen by not later than September 1 on the basis that they will continue to get additional guest bookings on the part of international visitors.

“It's all based on future bookings that will determine when the remaining properties will be able to reopen with, of course, the exception of the two that have already confirmed that they're going to be closed through to the end of the year, which is Elbow Beach, and the Rosedon, which is closed through to April 1, 2021.”

Mr Todd said this week's talks followed a tripartite summit that involved the Government, the hotel industry and trade unions last month.

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour, who organised the meeting, said later: “The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted Bermuda's economy and our hotel industry has sustained substantial losses.”

Mr Hayward added: “With the gradual reopening of the country, it is critical that urgent actions are taken to manage the future of the industry and mitigate any further losses.”

Mr Todd said that the minister had been kept “fully informed” about the draft MOU.

Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
Stephen Todd, chief executive of the Bermuda Hotel Association and Hotel Employers of Bermuda (File photograph)

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Published August 11, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated August 11, 2020 at 8:09 am)

Hotel workers to hear restart plans

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