From left, Gregory Simmons, Vernell Lambe, BIU president Chris Furbert and Javon Davies, the bar porters that were laid off. *Photo by Mikaela Ian Pearman
From left, Gregory Simmons, Vernell Lambe, BIU president Chris Furbert and Javon Davies, the bar porters that were laid off. *Photo by Mikaela Ian Pearman

Bartenders at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess are refusing to fulfill duties that are normally done by bar porters.

Ten employees were made redundant at the hotel on Friday.

Five of the employees are members of the Bermuda Industrial Union. Its president, Chris Furbert, claims the redundancies go against a collective bargaining agreement signed by both parties.

Mr Furbert went as far as to call the hotel “irresponsible” for failing to adhere to the agreement.

Speaking at the press conference at the BIU yesterday, Mr Furbert said the employees were three bar porters and two in-room dining workers.

He said the bartenders that are left will not be fulfilling tasks that are normally done by bar porters, such as getting ice, restocking the bar, etc.

Mr Furbert claimed as a result of the bar porters being given the axe, the bartenders are required to perform those duties in addition to their own.

He said the bartenders had been doing the bar porter work up until today, but as of tomorrow, that would cease.  He also claimed there was no conversation had to adjust their job descriptions.

“I can tell you that I did send a letter off to the general manager because the bartenders said ‘Sorry, but we’re not going to be doing the bar porter work’.

“After today, that’s it.”

The bar porters - Gregory Simmons, Vernell Lambe and Javon Davis have worked at the hotel for a combined 23 years.

Mr Furbert also said the job of bar porter was where future bartenders started their careers.

Speaking on the redundancies, Mr Furbert said he was notified on Wednesday night, which went into effect on Friday.

“We are concerned that the collective bargaining agreement wasn’t followed in terms of notice. I advised the general manager to put the redundancies on hold.

“I had a chance to meet with him today and we had said to him that we were concerned that the agreement wasn’t followed.

“People’s lives were put in unstable positions because their jobs don’t exist.”

Mr Furbert maintained a conversation should have been had with the union before the redundancies were decided.

“I would like for them to respect what is in the collective bargaining agreement.

“When you have an agreement that’s signed and you go forth and you call the president of the BIU and say ‘There’s going to be redundancies’ without having conversations, that’s inexcusable.

“That was very irresponsible for them to do that knowing we have an agreement.”

Mr Furbert said the workers were offered four weeks’ pay in lieu of notice.