LETTER OF THE DAY - Hotel workers need help
THE EDITOR, Sir: I am not deaf, dumb nor blind to the fact that Jamaica is going through tough economic reform under the International Monetary Fund programme. Unemployment is on the rise, and the man on the street is finding it difficult to make ends meet. But this gives hotels no right to treat people like slaves.
My father has been working in the hotel industry from ever since I can remember, and never was he treated this way before. Even when there was the global recession, which consequently affected the influx of tourists into the country, treatment was satisfactory. I recently had a conversation with him and what he said was quite astonishing. At one popular north-coast resort, an average worker puts in six days per week, and gets $15,000 forthnightly. Count yourself blessed if you receive $20,000 or more. If minimum wage is $5,500, then my calculation tells me that a person is getting just $4,000 above minimum wage. What injustice!
No other options
Additionally, persons do not get paid for overtime and, on some occasions, guests are instructed not to give tips. There are many persons who would want to leave, but have no other choice because jobs are scarce.
Slavery was abolished in 1838, but it seems working in some of these hotels is modern-day slavery. I am calling on the National Workers' Union to intervene on behalf of these workers because they are being treated unfairly. This injustice should not continue. People are giving their time and service, so I believe it's fitting to give them the pay they deserve.
Clark's Town, Trelawny