The city’s landmark hotel: But how much has this week’s labour turmoil dented morale among staff? *File photo
The city’s landmark hotel: But how much has this week’s labour turmoil dented morale among staff? *File photo

A Fairmont Hamilton Princess employee has spoken to the Bermuda Sun about this week’s strike by unionized employees saying “it was the right thing to do”.

The barman, who has been employed at the hotel for more than 10 years, told us that the ten staff made redundant deserved to be treated better by the hotel chain.

And he claimed that the hotel’s handling of the situation forced workers to make the decision to walk out in support of their union colleagues.

The employee’s comments came as four unionized workers, who were made redundant recently,were told yesterday they would be reinstated in May, after talks between Fairmont and the BIU reached a resolution.

The barman added: “Morale is pretty low at the moment in all areas of the hotel.

“People are being asked to do jobs outside of their department and positions are being cut and no one is getting paid for the extra work that they are being asked to do.

“For us as barmen we can not be expected to do the work of the bar porters and our own work and still provide a high level of service that the guest demands.”

A total of 10 staff were made redundant from the Fairmont Hamilton Princess. The move prompted the BIU to accuse the hotel of breaking its collective bargaining agreement by not providing sufficient notice of the redundancies.

This in turn led to industrial action this week by BIU members that brought public transport to a standstill.

The stalemate was only resolved yesterday when Fairmont agreed to re-instate four unionized workers in May.

The Fairmont employee, who asked not to be named, said: “It is really unfortunate that it came to this.

“I love my job and I appreciate having it. I did not want to hurt the tourists that were visiting the hotel by going on strike.

“But it was the right thing for us to do.

“No one should be treated like these guys though — to turn up at work and be told, that is not right in anyone’s book. No one should be forced to give up their worker’s rights.” 

Last night Fairmont Hamilton Princess released a brief statement on the dispute. It did not address any specifics relating to the disagreement between the BIU and the hotel chain.

Neither did it refer to the Collective Bargaining Agreement or say how much notice the workers who were made redundant were initially given.

Len Czarnecki, General Manager of The Fairmont Hamilton Princess, said: “We are pleased that a resolution has been reached between The Fairmont Hamilton Princess and the Bermuda Industrial Union and we are now able to return our focus to serving our guests. 

“The next several years will be exciting for The Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

“The $90 million investment in the property will help us raise the profile of Bermuda as a destination and help create dynamic new tourism opportunities.

“We look forward to working with our many partners in the community on creating new jobs and developing hospitality career training.”