GM: Sandals team members’ jobs secure

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Gaurav Sindhi, general manager of Sandals Grande Antigua, says hundreds of team members have confirmed that they will return to work on Monday following the resort’s unprecedented closure.
Sindhi said that the company has sent e-mails, made telephone calls and placed advertisements in local media to alert the nearly 700-team members to give them the assurance that their places at the company are secure. He also revealed that 75 team members worked on the property while it was closed for the first time in 25 years.
According to him, Sandals does not anticipate “a huge amount” of team members not returning but others have communicated that personal issues will cause their absence.
OBSERVER media has spoken with employees of Sandals Grande Antigua who decided to end work contracts with Antigua’s largest private sector employer.
One accountant said she sought temporary employment since the September 15th closure and plans to remain permanently with her new employer, adding that only a promotion would change her mind.
A chef at Sandals said that she has survived on the income she makes from the mobile cook-shop she started when the closure was first announced in July of this year.
These cases will be assessed next week, and Sindhi expects to use the numbers to determine how many new hires the company will need for the upcoming tourist season. He said that the hotel’s occupancy will be 80 percent when the lobby welcomes guests on December 17, and before Christmas Day the rooms will be sold out.
On Monday, all team-members will take part in the re-orientation session which includes tutorials and presentations which management say will enforce the company’s brand and vision.
Meanwhile, Sunil Ramdeen, regional public relations director of Sandals Resort International, said that the company knew the importance of compensating team members during the closure and that is why the company provided stipends to staff after negotiations with the Antigua and Barbuda Worker’s Union.
The general manager said, “On top of allowing them to take all their vacation that was due or overdue to them…after the vacation ended that percentage flowed right into it.”
OBSERVER media reported two months ago that the hotel paid 20 percent of the employees’ basic weekly/monthly wage, and team members who subscribed to the company’s medical and life insurance plans had costs covered by the company.

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