Fight continues for ex-Jolly Beach Resort workers owed millions in outstanding pay

by Gemma Useful

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Hundreds of former workers at just one of the country’s greatest resorts are nevertheless owed far more than EC$7 million in exceptional pay out and severance pretty much two a long time after the 464-home sophisticated closed.

The Jolly Seashore Resort was when a favoured haunt for spending plan travellers wishing to expertise Antigua’s famed west coast. It has been shut to attendees because March 2020 soon after the Covid pandemic exacerbated the economical woes which had noticed it endure a string of handovers.

On Monday, the Personnel Union (ABWU) which represents the hotel’s 500 ex-workers wrote to Prime Minister Gaston Browne requesting a assembly to iron out a resolution.

The resort is presently in receivership and is mentioned to owe federal government and statutory bodies alone a staggering EC$80 million.

It was applied for many months previous calendar year as a govt quarantine centre nowadays its unkempt, overgrown beachfront is a sore reminder of its fall from grace.

ABWU Deputy Basic Secretary Chester Hughes stated yesterday that although the subject has been introduced right before the courts and an get issued for the payment of money, they have not but been forthcoming.

He explained to Observer that annoyed previous staff members – many of whom had worked at the resort for many years – were being still awaiting compensation.

At minimum two have considering the fact that died.

Esther Parker, who experienced been employed there for 20 a long time, handed away past February whilst owed an believed EC$60,000.

Her daughter Gisel Meade explained to Observer she believes tension performed a main job in her mother’s demise. Parker, 51, had experienced a quantity of well being difficulties together with liver complications and died in hospital though obtaining surgical procedure, Meade said.

“She left two younger young children, aged 9 and 10. It is been a horrible yr for us. We are making an attempt to struggle on due to the fact her husband also worked at Jolly Seashore. He’d been there 18 or 19 several years so they ended up the two out of perform at the exact time,” she described.

Meade added that the receipt of her mother’s dollars would go some way to serving to her youthful siblings in Parker’s absence.

Hughes advised Observer the union hoped federal government would “step in and help the process”.

“The government stated it was a shareholder as it had acquired the resort through a debt swap but nothing at all has nonetheless materialised,” he mentioned.

“We have listened to very little a lot more so we are searching for some clarity on the place we are heading pertaining to some sort of settlements.

“We are speaking about hundreds of workers who have not been paid a cent in monies they have labored for.

“When the hotel shut, staff members had been owed tens of millions of pounds in retroactive payments, family vacation pay back, severance, unpaid wages and retirement fund contributions which ended up deducted from salaries and withheld from the financial institution.

“This is unacceptable and we are not able to continue on to have this matter linger with no intervention from the govt.”

Hughes claimed in addition to the EC$7 million, the complete sum owed is now significantly bigger due to interest positioned on the debt by previous year’s court ruling, alongside with Labour Code-stipulated desire on severance of 10 per cent for every annum.

PM Browne’s Main of Staff members Lionel Hurst stated there was “no doubt” that the country’s leader would meet with the workers’ reps.

He said the resort was currently valued at drastically significantly less than its overall financial debt. The amount of money owed to authorities, such as in excellent Healthcare Rewards and Social Stability contributions, is almost a few moments much more than the circa EC$30 million the assets might offer for, Hurst stated.

“There have been many makes an attempt to resuscitate Jolly Beach by bringing in private capital. Many personal firms have manufactured overtures but it’s terribly challenging to say if any 1 business has come so shut that we will go with that just one,” he described.

“Government is the resort’s most significant debtor and these are secured money owed so they will just take priority about other collectors, including the personnel,” he ongoing.

“We have commenced to flip the personal debt into shareholding so federal government will come to be the largest shareholder. We want it to be a successful organization,” Hurst extra, detailing that the hope is that operating funds from new traders will aid resuscitate the resort and place it back again into business use.

The ABWU is also currently preventing the corner of 150 former staff with ground managing enterprise Caribbean Airport Providers (CAS).

LIAT 1974, now in administration, owns 51 {e9f0aada585b9d73d0d08d3c277fd760092386ec23cac37d50f4b8cd792b062a} of CAS with the remainder owned by a Barbados-centered business.

“These personnel have been property due to the fact the pandemic and have not received a cent,” Hughes said, including that governing administration should really bear obligation for ex-CAS staff in light-weight of its takeover of LIAT.

Hurst reported the latter was a make any difference for LIAT’s administrator.