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Axe falls at the Ritz - More than 80 workers sent home

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer


THE SUDDEN redundancy of 83 members of staff at The Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall has not only sent shock waves through the workers who were fired yesterday, but owners of the resort, Rose Hall Resort LP, were also stumped by the development.

"We share the anger and dismay of the employees who were fired, particularly since the management contract with The Ritz-Carlton was terminated four months ago, and we are hopeful that our effort to remove them from our property will be supported by the Jamaican legal system very soon," Michele Rollins, president of Rose Hall Developments, said in a release.

Rose Hall Resort LP says The Ritz-Carlton's action comes days before the expectation of a ruling from the Jamaican courts, which it hopes will finally allow the company to evict the hotel group from the property, making way for Salamander Hospitality to commence management.

The parties are already in arbitration under the terms of their contract, but regardless of the outcome the owners have the right to terminate them.

"We are extremely eager to replace The Ritz-Carlton so that we can continue our long relationship with the country of Jamaica and this unique and wonderful property," said Rollins.

No value for employees

She added that the firing of resort employees made it very obvious that The Ritz-Carlton was no longer interested in the well-being of valued employees, or the gem of a resort.

Employees of the resort told The Gleaner that they arrived at work, some as early as 5:30 on Wednesday morning and were greeted by heavily armed security guards.

They were later given letters of redundancy with immediate effect. The Ritz-Carlton stated in the letters that they were forced to make the decision as a result of a downturn in business.

Checks made with the resort revealed that they are currently running at a 50 per cent occupancy level, coming out of a buoyant Christmas and New Year of over 90 per cent in business.

"We had to adjust to what we think business is to going to be," the hotel's general manager, Bernd Kuhlen, said.