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Hotel Tower workers reject back-to-work request before pay

Hotel Tower workers on Wednesday rejected a request by one of the principal directors of the company to return to work, demanding that they first be paid all outstanding wages and salaries.

President of the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU), Sherwood Clarke said he and his General Secretary along with the affected workers made known their position in a meeting with Director, Salim Juman Azeez.

“You can’t want the angry workers go back to work without any money. These workers have bills to pay,”  Clarke told Demerara Waves Online News.

The monthly wage and salary bill for the 50 workers is an estimated GUY$2 million. The hotel closed its doors on May 23.

Clarke said the two sides have agreed to meet again on Thursday to hear what Azeez’s alternative plan is and if the talks collapse the workers and their union would return to the Ministry of Labour.

For its part, the CCWU has recommended that the workers be paid off all outstanding amounts and accept a cut in the work-week from five to three days as conditions for their return to work so that the hotel could resume business.

Clarke said the workers told Azeez that the mismanagement of the hotel included the director’s friends going there and taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit and staying for lengthy periods as guests without paying.  The union official said Azeez promised to put systems in place to ensure greater accountability and transparency for the business.

The CCWU President said Azeez has since struck a deal with Guyana Power and Light for electricity to be reconnected by Monday. He said the union has learnt that that a commercial bank was threatening foreclosure.

Hotel Tower has publicly acknowledged that it is broke and has promised to sell off some of its assets to pay the workers.