Karrie Williams, Gleaner Writer
SEVERAL EMPLOYEES in the hotel sector in Negril are disgruntled over what they say is a failure by some hoteliers to pay over gratuity that is due to them under the law.
"I have worked at the same property for years and I have never been paid gratuity. I know that guests are charged a gratuity, but my co-workers and I have never received any from our boss,'' one worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Western Focus.
Gratuity, which was introduced under the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention in 1965, is derived from a percentage of the total charges that guests pay over to hotels. The ILO stipulates that the amount of gratuity charged should be declared to guests, along with the identities of the workers who receive it.
But President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association, Evelyn Smith, who is also a hotelier in the resort town, denies having any knowledge of this practice.
Speaking with Western Focus, Smith expressed surprise and skepticism when asked to comment on the issue.
''I am not aware of this sort of thing happening, but if that is the case, we have a process in Jamaica where anyone that feels there is something amiss with their terms of employment can take their concerns to the Ministry of Labour,'' she said.
In an article carried by The Gleaner in 2008, People's National Party senator, Navel Clarke, lamented the plight of workers in the hotel sector and accused hoteliers of pocketing gratuity payments.
When Western Focus spoke to Cliff Reynolds, chairman of the Negril Resort Board, he said he would be severely disappointed if, in fact, there were instances of workers not being paid gratuity.
"Gratuity is an expected arrangement that is part of the pay package, so for it not to be paid over to staff is not something that should be encouraged. It would also be within the workers' rights to take legal action," said Reynolds.
Some recourse might soon come to workers as Reynolds promised that he would be bringing the issue up for attention at the next resort board meeting.