MARIGOT–Belmond La Samanna Hotel has agreed to retain fifty employees on permanent contracts, while “significant” severance packages have been offered to the remainder of employees who will be out of work, union leader Julien Boirard from Confederation General des Travailleurs de Guadeloupe (CGTG) disclosed on Friday.
This development marks a possible final settlement as the 3-month mandatory negotiation period between hotel and employee union came to an end on Friday. However, Direction des Entreprises de la Concurrence, de la Consummation, du Travail et de L’Emploi (DIECCTE) now has two weeks to approve or deny the decisions reached.
The luxury hotel which closed after Hurricane Irma, had sought to fire 138 of the 149 employees and hire only seasonal employees, citing reopening of the hotel under a revised business model. The union immediately contested the hotel’s intentions and employees held several demonstrations when negotiations with management ended in deadlock.
“We came to an agreement after the last demonstration we had outside the Chamber of Commerce,” Boirard told The Daily Herald. “The owner Belmond sent a negotiator here to meet us and we have been able to negotiate certain agreements. The severance packages were quite significant for the 88 who will be fired.
“Some of the employees were off island, but most employees were content with the offers. Those who decided to accept the severance package will still have priority to be hired as seasonal workers. Our main issue in all this was with the permanent contracts. That was very important to us.”
Boirard said the union, and other unions will be supporting the national Labour Day marches on Tuesday, May 1. “This is a march to support the union sections in St. Martin and informing the population about what we do and how we can help,” he explained.
The march starts from Bethany Home at 8:00am, proceeds through Marigot and ends on the waterfront where there will be some speeches.