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Scott: Unions need to stop holding firms ‘ransom with extraordinary demands’

Bahamian unions have become a danger to investors, Chairman of the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas Michael Scott said yesterday, adding that unions need to become progressive negotiators instead of holding companies “ransom with extraordinary demands”.

Scott, who was a speaker at the Andros Business Outlook yesterday, said The Bahamas has to “come to grips with unions in this country”, lamenting that he faced the headwinds of union negotiations when putting together voluntary separation packages for workers at the Grand Lucayan resort.

“We had been almost held to ransom with the extraordinary demands,” he said.

Scott contends that major international hotel brands have shied away from The Bahamas and gone to places like the Cayman Islands, Belize and Bermuda because of the “extortive, outrageous and crippling methods” of the unions in this country.

“Why should Mandarin Oriental go into Cayman, they should be coming here,” he said.

“The Bahamas has the best topography, best location in the Atlantic part of the world, but they are going to Cayman, they are going to Belize, to a swamp in Central America.

“They are all going there, but they are not coming here and there is a reason for that.”

Scott said the problem with unions has become so bad in Inagua that the employers are threatening a reverse strike. He was referencing Morton Salt’s threat of shutting down its operations after negotiations with the union came to an impasse.

“In my respectful opinion you cannot solve 21st century problems with 19th century solutions, particularly with some of these parasitical union leaders, some of whom are in conflicts of interest,” Scott said.

“We need progressive thinking in terms of how we look at development, but there are lateral problems we need to come to grips with.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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