By Louise Jobe
Workers at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, last Wednesday September 19th 2018, went on a brief sit down strike, to protest against their poor conditions of work and meagre salaries.
Among the conditions put forward by staff, are increment of their salaries and other incentives, poor food for staff at the canteen, staff redundancy, change of staff canteen to a Muslim pray ground, lack of motivation and respect for junior staff.
The workers indicate that Kairaba and Coral hotels are under the same ownership, and yet the salaries paid to staff at Coral are far better them, and they need explanation for this.
Ebrima Sawo, one of the long serving workers who spoke to this reporter, said they have been working at the Kairaba for over twenty years, but are still considered as casual workers; that their problem started with the canteen issue, that the authorities of the hotel want to transform to a mosque; that they suggested for the Mosque to be located somewhere there is enough land for it be built.
Sawo said they have to meet management before the workers carried out the strike; that together with the Human Resource Manager (HRM), they met the Manager and submitted a written document and request to discuss the issue; that he received a call from the Human Resources manager on his way to work, that the workers were on a sit-down strike, and he should talk to them to stop and return to work; that upon arrival, he spoke to his colleagues to remain calm, and return to work, which they did.
Meanwhile, the Management of the Hotel have indicated that the workers have refused to open up to dialogue, and continued their sit-down until they were prevailed upon by security personnel from the TDA, after they requested for them to cease their unlawful action and open up for dialogue and consultation.
The sit-down according to the Management of the hotel, has caused financial and reputational loss to them; that this could have been avoided once their grievances were put across the right channel.
According to the hotel Management, the action of the staff is unlawful and against the Laws of the country and the contract of employment signed by them; that management will not tolerate their action and that any worker who does not comply with the Laws of the country, will be dealt with according to the terms and conditions stipulated in their contact agreement. The management put the option of choosing to ignore their advice or pursuing dialogue, before the workers; that though it is their right to protest under the Laws of the country, there are laws that govern employer and employee rights, in such circumstances; that is, it is their right to assemble peacefully as long as it is not on the premises of the Company. The management further indicated that they will report to the Police, any action intended to inflict or incite violence, risks the safely of personnel, and property of the Hotel; that they will not hesitate to carry out disciplinary or legal action against any staff found wanting, if necessary.
Management urged the workers to retrain from talking or engaging in any form of communication with the media, which may result in inaccurate or false statement of facts; that the Company will take steps available to them, to redress deformation or the breach of their contract terms, which may arise.