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Hoteliers: Workers did their best

marciadottin, [email protected]

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“It has been a difficult two years, but the hotel workers have played their part in going through the economic difficulties; the workers did their best.”This is the view of Philip Bostic, who is president of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Workers of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), and also a shop steward at Hilton Barbados.  He was speaking at the ceremony to announce the beginning of the 25th Hotel And Restaurant Workers’ Week, which will run from August 8 to 14 under the theme Recovery Through Tourism Excellence.The week was conceptualised to uplift hotel workers and recognise their contributions to the tourism industry, Bostic disclosed. This year ten hotel workers will be honoured for their service over the years.Bostic said a lot rested on the shoulders of hotel and restaurant workers, considering that tourism was the main engine of the country’s economy.However, he noted some of the challenges that some hotel workers faced, such as having to work reduced hours. “The challenges we face are that some workers who have to work [short time] will have their livelihood effected, but they have been trying to weather the storm,” said Bostic. He added that sacrifices had been made, pointing out that the hotel agreement had expired last year and the hotel workers had not asked for an increase at that time because they had taken the economic difficulties into consideration.LeVere Richards, BWU industrial relations consultant and coordinator of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Workers, said the week of activities would include a seminar at which there would be a discussion on the Employment Rights Bill. This, he said, was intended to give workers and managers an insight into what is being proposed in the bill. Discussion will also be held on the workings of the Productivity Payment Scheme, which is being pioneered by eight properties within the island. Richards noted that the week of activities for hotel and restaurant workers was initially suggested at a time when there were negative concerns about the service given by those workers. Since then the council had made a conscious effort to correct this and hotel workers had moved to a level where they gave good service.  The BWU official stressed that training was important and the BWU had taken workers overseas on several occasions to interact with other hotel workers to learn positive habits, with the workers and Barbados tourism benefiting significantly.