*Labour Ministry summons hotel management
The dispute between the management of a five-star hotel in Lagos, Radisson Blu, and its workers has taken a new dimension as the latter are demanding N10 million each before the management can go ahead with its disengagement plans. This is coming just as the Ministry of Labour and Productivity has summoned the management of the hotel to get a clearer picture of the true position of things. Speaking with New Telegraph on Wednesday, one of the workers, who identified himself as the Interim Chairman of the workers’ union, Mr. Onitsha Solomon, accused the hotel management of peddling rumours of renovation in order to justify the unlawful disengagement of workers. Solomon said the management only nursed the idea of relieving the workers of their job after they (workers) decided to formalise their membership of National Union of Hotels and Personnel Service Workers. He said, “My people agitated to be members of the hotel workers union to enable them exercise their rights. An agreement to this extent had been reached between the management and the workers and documents were also signed to that effect with the management promising to look into the idea and give it due consideration.
“They agreed for us to reconvene January 26 with a promise from them that no worker would be victimised but suddenly they just gave everybody letters saying we have been sacked. They have been going to media houses to say it was because they wanted to carry out renovation, which is not true. “Since they don’t want us to work for them they should disengage us properly and what we are asking for is N10 million for each worker. I have already contacted a human rights lawyer to help us out.”
It will be recalled that the fivestar hotel located on Victoria Island said it was shutting down operations to conduct extensive renovation of its facilities, as part of its management’s commitment to retain standards and remain the hospitality of first choice for guests visiting Lagos for business or pleasure. According to a statement by Anchorage Leisures Limited, owners of the facility, the renovation exercise will “cover areas such as power generation, cooling system as well as other critical equipment.” The statement said, “The magnitude of the renovation work has however necessitated shutting down of business operations for the duration of the renovation.” The management also said that the renovation activities had led to the disengagement of staff given the required duration for the exercise. It, however, stressed that it would abide by all contractual terms by ensuring payment of all that is due the affected staff.