On Friday, 10 July the Minister of Labour, the Hon Jason Hayward, JP, MP, held a National Tripartite Social Dialogue meeting for hotel industry stakeholders at the Hamilton Princess.
The event brought together a number of representatives from the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Tourism and Transport, the Bermuda Hotel Association, the Hotel Employers of Bermuda, and the Bermuda Industrial Union to discuss the sustainability of employment in the hotel industry.
The overall goal of the meeting was to engage in an open dialogue between stakeholders to reach mutually beneficial outcomes that will ensure job security and allow hoteliers to remain open.
The major areas for discussion were:
· Bermudian job security
· Increasing local interest in the hotel industry
· Upholding the Collective Bargaining Agreement
· The longevity of existing and future hotel properties
· Maintaining a productive working relationship between employers and employees
The tripartite stakeholders collectively agreed to address the many issues faced by Bermudians returning to the Hotel Industry, including:
· Increasing the number of Bermudians employed in the industry from 73.5% to 80%;
· Providing the necessary training and development;
· Providing mentoring, career advice, and guidance;
· Increasing the number of Bermudians in leadership roles;
· Removing barriers for Bermudians to enter the industry; and
· Resuming training programs already in existence such as ‘Serving the Servers’
“On the matter of work permit holders that are unable to work, during the meeting, we discussed the recent amendment of the Employment Act to exclude the period of the Shelter-In-Place from the calculation of the period of lay off. Hotel Employers were advised that decisions regarding individual lay-offs, redundancy, work permit renewals, repatriation, and rehiring all should be considered carefully and in line with current laws. Employers should pay attention to their particular circumstances and make their decisions accordingly.” Minister Hayward said.
“The Ministry is taking a balanced approach to applications received and queries raised with all its Departments in these unprecedented times and will be looking at issues on a case by case basis to ensure solutions are equitable and within the limits of the law.” Minister Hayward continued.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic has significantly disrupted Bermuda’s economy and our hotel industry has sustained substantial losses,” Minister Hayward said. “With the gradual re-opening of the country, it is critical that urgent actions are taken to manage the future of the industry and mitigate any further loses.”
“We are well aware that a large number of individuals in Bermuda rely on the Hotel Industry to put food on the table, make their rent or mortgage payments, send their children to school, and put clothes on their backs. Only through each and every one of our Hotel Industry stakeholders working together, do we stand the best chance of success.”
“The tripartite social dialogue is the first step in a concerted effort to overcome the financial challenges faced by many, and I am grateful for all that attended and the contributions made.”