The management of Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel has been advised to put off any plans to engage new workers without properly disengaging the old ones. Disclosing this to New Telegraph, a source who is privy to the management/workers fray, said the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, which had summoned the management of the hotel in the past advised against the planned recruitment. The source maintained that it was inhuman of the management to reason along that line after throwing over 450 workers back into the labour market merely because they wanted to belong to a union that their colleagues in other hotels belong to.
The source said, “I got the feelers that they were planning to recruit but I understand that the Ministry of Labour stopped them until we are properly compensated. The representative of the chairman was asked to get the details of the meeting across to the chairman while another meeting was scheduled for the 24th of this month. “You can’t just send away workers like that without compensating them properly. So, we are still in the struggle.” It would be recalled that the dispute between the management and the workers took a new dimension about three weeks ago as the latter demanded N10 million each before the management could 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.
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 Association of Hotel Workers Union. 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 five-star 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.