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Hotel Tower sends home workers, talks begin on severance pay

Salim Juman (left) with an associate going into the meeting with officials of the Labour Ministry.

The management of Hotel Tower on Wednesday began discussions with the Labour Ministry about paying off and sending home workers ahead of moves to sell off the decades-old hospitality landmark.

An official of the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU) said the 67 persons including four managers would most likely begin receiving payments within one month.

Representing Hotel Tower’s management at the table with officials of the union and the Labour  Ministry was one of the Directors of Canal Investments Inc; Salim Juman Azeez and another man.

On leaving the less than one hour meeting, Juman refused to speak with the media and instead confronted a Demerara Waves Online News representative and threatened to break up his camera, saying he had no permission to take out his photograph. Juman unsuccessfully demanded that his photograph be deleted from the camera and left after employees of the Ministry of Labour, Brickdam exited their office building.

Demerara Waves was told that Hotel Tower, which is heavily indebted to Citizens Bank, is to be sold to foreign investors by month-end. Canal Investments, according to sources, has taken steps to sever the workers in keeping with the desire of the new owners. However, a union official said the unhappy workers would have no other choice but to move on. “I don’t think they are happy in getting severance pay because this thing is frustrating because they don’t know what will be the future of the company and the future of them,” said the official.

Hotel Tower has already said that it has been forced to close its doors since May 24 because it was broke due to a “dramatic decline in business.”  “Despite the best efforts of management; the hotel was still unable to meet certain financial obligations.”

 Workers now on the breadline have complained that Hotel Tower has racked up huge debts because management’ associates have been consuming hundreds of thousands of dollars in food and beverages and renting hotel rooms for as low as US$50.00