The Barbados Workers Union is talking a nation-wide strike next week and has set Sandy Lane Resort squarely in their sights. The BWU leadership know that they couldn’t be offered a better opportunity for worldwide attention and public sympathy than afforded by that playground of the ultra rich.
The images during a strike will be powerful: low-paid black maids and labourers vs. filthy rich white foreigners at a resort where a round of golf and dinner can cost the same as most ordinary Bajans take home in six months.
Then throw in 18 sacked workers at Sandy Lane – who will claim that it is all about union busting.
With optics like that, the real reasons behind the dismissals and the strike will soon be lost in the public mind. Image is all on the side of the Barbados Workers Union.
A similar situation at the Royal Shop where 12 employees were dismissed is powerful on Barbados but nothing compared with the worldwide attention that will result when the international media start listing the names of the beautiful people who play at Sandy Lane.
I had to laugh at the quotes from Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association President Alvin Jemmott that the day chosen for the nationwide strike – Wednesday – is the worst day because it is the busiest tourism day of the week. (Nation News article here)
Ah…. Yes, Mr. Jemmott: that is precisely why the BWU chose Wednesday for the strike.
Is Sandy Lane Flying In More Staff To Operate During The Strike?
We understand that Sandy Lane has been ordering triple and quadruple quantities from local suppliers for weeks now – stocking up for the strike. Obviously they don’t want their clients to be without their Grey Goose vodka and “organic” Caviar de Riofrio.
What is curious is the Sandy Lane announcement that all will be normal for their guests because they have made an “emergency plan”.
Unless they have enough skilled workers willing to either cross the strike line or stay at the resort, it seems to us that things will be anything but normal at Sandy Lane. Barbados is a small island and it is highly unlikely that locals would dare cross the lines to work during a national strike.
…Which leaves open the door to imported labour to replace not only those who were sacked, but also the staff who will not cross the line during a national strike. We’re thinking kitchen staff and other higher functions. Sandy Lane can operate short staffed for a few days in housekeeping and gardening, but without skill kitchen and bar staff the party is over!
We expect that a few guests will come and go via helicopter, but the usual parade of Mercedes limos will not be able to enter or leave Sandy Lane.
IF Sandy Lane and the Royal Shop are not able to come to an agreement with the Barbados Workers Union, we don’t believe that a one day strike is the last we will hear of the troubles. So far all are digging in their heels and we can’t see that changing before Wednesday.
As for me and what I’ll do on Wednesday, maybe I’ll get me some of that Grey Goose and de Riofrio and see how the other side lives.
… but probably not! 😉
CBC: No Resolution In Labour Disputes
Nation News: In Limbo
Nation News: Sandy Lane Standing Firm