By Franklin Alli
Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel has sacked 450 of its staff , attributing it to harsh operating environment in the country occasioned by recurring infrastructure and power challenges.
However, the protesting workers told Vanguard on Tuesday, that they were laid off by the hotel’s management on the justification of renovating the facility but without paying them their entitlements having worked for the organisation for 4-5 years.
Disengagement letters issued to the workers and signed by the General Manager Anchorage Limited, Michael Rathgeb, read in part: “Due to the recurring infrastructure and power challenges resulting in the need for an extensive rehabilitation of our property and equipment, and given the harsh operating environment, we regret to inform you that your services are no longer required effective January 25, 2015.”
According to the statement the extensive renovation of the facilities will “cover areas such as power generation, cooling system as well as other critical equipment.”
“The magnitude of the renovation work has however necessitated shutting down business operations for the duration of the renovation”, the statement further indicated.
Spokesperson for the workers, Makanju Daramola, however, dismissed the claim by the hotel’s management that they laid off the affected staff and closed down the company in order to carry out an extensive renovation of the hotel. Instead, he said, “We were sacked for agitating to belong to unions after the management signed agreement with the national Union of Hotels, Personal Services Workers and Hotels and Personal Services Senior Staff Association, the registered union representing the workers.
“We have been working in the organisation for 4 to 5 years as obedient servants but because of victimization from the managers, we staged a little protest without violence; they agreed with the national union that there should be union in the company to protect the interests and welfares of the workers. The Managing Director, the General Manager and the Human Resources Manager, signed the agreement. They agreed that the unions Executive officers should come on Monday, January 25 to finalize everything and to introduce the EXCOs and we resumed our work.
“ This is not the first hotel we have worked; even if renovation is going on, you can write to the staff and tell them that renovation is going on and you can redeploy them to the subsidiary hotels. All the bookings they have for next week, they cancelled them and directed them to another hotels; the guests were even asked ‘what’s the meaning of all this?, Within two hours they checked out all the guests and before you know it they brought in mobile police to mount the gates and by 7.00 pm, they asked all the staff to leave the hotel premises without any explanation.
We left. The second day we came. We were told the owner is going to have a meeting with us; they arranged canopies and chairs and we waited for almost three hours and they told us to come and resume our work. As obedient workers, we again complied but unknown to us they had hidden plan; they had typed our termination letters; we were told to tidy-up everywhere. We did but after about 30 minutes, they called us again that they want to have meeting with us; unknown to us, they have typed our termination letters. They started sharing the letters, telling us that we should all go home, that they are renovating the hotel. We refused to collect the letters. Yesterday, Tuesday, they paid us our salary for January and February.