A Barbadian hotel contract worker in Canada is countering the bleak outlook painted by one of her male colleagues who is among a 19-member group of locals currently waiting to return home after their employment prematurely ended due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month the worker, who preferred to remain anonymous, reported that sleepless nights had gripped the minds of the Barbadians anxious to return home, that there was uncertainty about whether the group would be allowed to leave after May 31 when their employment visas expire and that no clear information was being given by the Liaison Officer or from the Barbados Government about travel or work arrangements.
He had also claimed that the group, which was employed by the JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa in Ontario for the last year, had been adversely affected by an excessive workload which led to an injury to him as well as not receiving benefits listed under the contract from the employer.
But Cynthia Jackman, who was hired as a room attendant with Marriott is expressing disbelief at the reports from her Barbadian colleague, who she described as a complainer.
“Everybody in here happy,” she told Barbados TODAY via telephone from the shared residence where she and the other members of the group are housed.
“But everybody in here seems to be very happy to me. The only body that miserable and unhappy is him. Nobody can make him happy. Everyone was shocked and vex with him when he print that (news story). I can tell you that much,” Jackman declared.
She said while every work place in the world may have some type of issue, what they were experiencing in light of the COVID situation was nothing for her colleague to run off and report.
“He had issues from the beginning. If you ask him to move a box or move a piece of paper, it was a problem. He complains, complains, complains, complains. I have no problem with Marriott, and a lot of people in here said the same thing. So why he would bring that up, I do not know. Maybe it’s because his time is up and he is still here. We are home and we are collecting unemployment every two weeks…we are not paying rent…we are living free. What could be better than that,” the hotel worker contended.
“His time is up to go home, so he wants everybody else to go home with him so we cannot collect out unemployment,” she stated, pointing out that she and the rest of the group’s time is up on May 30. She said his contract ends around the middle of this month.
Jackman said while the hotel is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “we are not suffering.”
She also raised questions about a claim made by her male colleague that he was injured on the job.
“I do not know about that. He was in hospital with high blood pressure a time back. He went back out to work. He was going to work just before the hotel closed and all he was doing was sitting on a stool in the laundry and folding towels ‘one today and one tomorrow,’ doing nothing and we were working hard,” Jackman claimed.
In reports, the man spoke about how he and his fellow Barbadians had been coping with the stress of their current situation.
“Some of us are having difficulty sleeping at night. Some of the sentiments being expressed is that we are looking forward to going home. We are packing barrels with food stuffs and personal items we would have acquired over the year we were here to ship [to Barbados]. We are definitely looking forward to coming home.”
The workers received notice of being laid off on March 15 when the National State of Emergency was issued for the province of Ontario, after which, the group had to apply for assistance from the state. However the process was prolonged due to incorrect information received from their employer.
“The company was advising us to apply for a sickness benefit when really we were to apply to regular benefits for being laid off. So that was a bit of a setback that had to be corrected by ourselves with Service Canada.”
Fortunately the group was able to receive unemployment benefits after a three-week wait, which he said has been enough to sustain the workers “at this time”.
“I know things are not the greatest in Barbados right now but I love the country and whatever I can do to help when I come back I’m willing to do and others in group feel the same way,” he was quoted as saying.
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