By Kadeem Joseph
Concern is mounting regarding the future of scores of employees of the Jolly Beach Resort following reports that the contract securing the management of the property by the Sunwing Travel Group has not been renewed.
Chester Hughes, the deputy general secretary of the union representing the workers – the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU), said a member of the resort’s management confirmed the development.
“We did speak to a member of management who did advise us that the contract has expired, and they did not renew the Sunwing contract,” he said.
Observer understands that the group has suffered due to the continued closure of the Canadian border, as Canada serves as the company’s major source market.
Hughes said, to date, the union has not received any “official” updates on the development, or the way forward, but indicated that the ABWU will be sending an official correspondence to the management of the resort today at the latest, in the hopes that a response will be forthcoming by Friday of this week.
He said the uncertainty about the way forward for the hotel is of great concern because there are several matters still outstanding, including severance payments that are due to the staff, and a matter in the courts.
“Our main concern is getting people back to work and getting the property up and going. But nonetheless, at this time, the severance that is due and payable to the employees, we wish for those monies along with all other outstanding monies to be forwarded to these employees, so that they could pay some of these bills that they have had running for quite some time,” Hughes explained.
The Jolly Beach Resort has not resumed operations since it closed in the first quarter of this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ABWU has since called an emergency meeting with the workers, scheduled to take place on Friday at 10am at its Newgate Street headquarters.
The Sunwing Travel Group took over the management and marketing of the struggling resort from Elite Resorts in 2017. The Elite group had taken over operations in January 2016 with a view to revamping the property.