NASSAU, Bahamas – (February 22, 2012) Restaurants (Bahamas) Limited has confirmed that its nine KFC Nassau locations will remain closed as a result of the illegal strike action ordered by the Union, and supervised by paid Union organizers located in each store to ensure that KFC employees sat down and did not work on Monday.
After the last series of Union directed illegal industrial actions, KFC Nassau notified its employees, and the Union, that should any further illegal industrial action occur, the stores would be closed, and would only reopen when an industrial agreement was reached. Such irresponsible actions only continue to inconvenience KFC’s customers.
The Bahamas Hotel Catering & Allied Workers Union still does not have a strike vote or a certificate to strike. On Monday, Union officials located in each store instructed staff to sit down and cease work. This disruption to the restaurants’ operations was an illegal industrial act, and has caused an inconvenience to our customers, as well as thousands of dollars worth of product that could not be sold due to the closure of the restaurants and instead was donated to charitable organizations.
“Any good trade unionist would have secured the necessary authorization to strike before doing so,” a KFC Nassau Spokesman said. “We’re disappointed that employees jobs have been put at risk by such irresponsible conduct.”
KFC Nassau intends to fully exercise its rights as an Employer faced with an illegal strike action. The company is unable to reopen its restaurants and bring its employees back to work without completion of a new industrial agreement. Based on this illegal action, the company is unwilling to pay any employees while stores remain closed. On several previous occasions the company endured the illegal industrial action sponsored by the Union, and continued as best it could to operate its business. On this occasion the company is unwilling to operate in this hostile environment.
KFC Nassau also asserts that it has not as yet received a claim for recognition from the Union. “The procedure set out in the Industrial Relations Act calls for the employer to be served with a claim for recognition, which is then followed by either an acceptance or rejection of the claim within the prescribed period,” continued the KFC Spokesman. “Certification of recognition must be preceded by a claim for recognition to the Employer.”
These illegal actions have caused serious financial harm to KFC’s business and to the employees of KFC Nassau, and this reckless approach continues to place jobs at risk.
DNA support the workers of KFC
Nassau, Bahamas – The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) stands in support of the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) employees that have been affected by recent negotiations with Restaurants Bahamas Limited (RBL). As with the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP) workers a few months ago, the DNA is prepared to listen to the concerns of disenfranchised employees and to fight for those that cannot fight for themselves.
It is unfortunate that Minister of Labour has proven to be unable or unwilling to swiftly address this issue in the best interest of concerned KFC employees. Once again, Minister Dion Foulkes has demonstrated his inability to protect the most vulnerable in our society, working families.
Leader of the DNA, Branville McCartney, recently spoke out saying, “the right of workers to organize and petition their working conditions is inherently Bahamian; it is apart of our fabric. The DNA is prepared to protect that right at all costs.”
Alfred Poitier, DNA candidate for Sea Breeze, noted that according to employment laws, employers cannot take away a benefit that an employee is already receiving without the employees consent or that of the bargaining unit of the employees. This seems to be the case according to information provided by KFC, who are requesting a reduction in the salary range for their employees.
Mr Poitier said, “Realistically, I do not know any bargaining unit that would readily agree to that.”
In fact, Mr. Poitier poised several questions, which may be shared by the Bahamas Hotel Catering & Allied Workers Union, that offer a better understanding of why it is necessary or unnecessary to ask staff to take pay cuts. Those questions are:
- Have they sought to reduce any other expenses other than salary?
- What is the exact financial position of the business?
- How has the volume of traffic in the business decreased over the last 12, 24 or 36 months?
- If the volume of business decreased, did KFC reduce the staff count?
“We must be mindful that the livelihood of many of our Bahamian brothers and sisters—Bahamian families, are being adversely affected due to this issue during an already poor economic period. Openness is key to a favorable solution,” Mr. Poitier said, adding that the Party prays that calm heads prevail and the employees are protected from a loss of jobs or income.
The DNA Party strongly urges Minister Foulkes, the Union and KFC owner, RBL to reach a swift and immediate resolution that protects the interest of workers.
The Party will continue to champion workers’ rights and will map out the way forward for swiftly resolving Union and management disputes. A DNA government will be one where workers are seen as the beneficiaries instead of adversaries of government.
The DNA recognizes that its time that the diligent, mobile workers of this nation reap the benefits of their labor.