The island’s hotel and tourism workers are now in line for a financial boost just in time for Christmas.
That is because their bargaining agent – the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) – have reached an ‘historic” wages agreement that will see the estimated 5,000 employees receiving a five-and-a-half per cent hike from December 15, 2017-2020.
Under the three-year collective agreement for wages and other conditions of employment, the tourism industry workers will get a two per cent increase in wages in the first year, two per cent in the second and one-and-a-half in the third.
Deputy General Secretary of the BWU Dwaine Paul hailed the conclusion of the negotiations as having set a new precedent.
“We are pleased to conclude this round of negotiations for the tourism sector and reach this agreement in less than a year. This has set a new precedent. It is also the first time that we have been able to sign back-to-back agreements in the sector,” Paul said.
“I believe that the present relationship augurs well for the development of a true partnership between the workers and the members of the association. The BWU looks forward, as we go through the rest of 2018 and into 2019, to really build on what we have done in this negotiation to improve the fortunes of both the owners of properties and the workers within the sector,” the Deputy General Secretary of the BWU stated.
BHTA Chairman Stephen Austin thanked the union’s negotiating team for the part played in ensuring the process was completed in record time and in a cordial manner.
“When I took up the chairmanship in June, a lot of the negotiation and work would have already started and I felt it was important to continue with some consistency, with the team already in place. I believe they were quite competent, so I lent them my support where necessary and backed every effort,” Austin said.
He said he believes that a good relationship between employer and employee is the key to the development of any industry.
Chief executive officer of the BHTA Senator Rudy Grant also thanked both negotiating teams, stating that the achievement was one of which they can all be proud.
“Traditionally, these types of negotiations have taken a very long time to conclude. Prior to 2017, when we signed a retroactive agreement to cover the period December 15, 2014 to December 14, 2017, such an agreement had not been signed for 10 years,” he stated, adding that he was “very” pleased in concluding the discussions in record time.