Minister Condor Speaks Out On Marriott Layoffs
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 23, 2009 (CUOPM)
Expressing the commitment of the Ministry of Labour to explore every avenue that would afford displaced workers financial succor during the current world economic turmoil, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour, Hon. Sam Condor has called for a meeting with social and business partners. No date has been set for the meeting.
Minister Condor informed the National Assembly that in light of the termination of 100 employees by the St. Kitts Marriott and also the redundancy of workers by other private sector businesses, consequential to the economic downturn worldwide, the Ministry of Labour has requested an urgent audience “to discuss ways and means in which, the Government can partner with you to consider and implement initiatives aimed at alleviating the financial loss of workers who have been affected through redundancy, occasioned by this unprecedented situation.”
He said invitations have been sent out but not limited to the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, the RBC Royal Bank of Canada, First Caribbean International Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, St. Kitts Co-operative Credit Union, Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, S.L. Horsford & Co. Ltd, TDC, Courts Ltd, Singer, Nicholls Trading Ltd, Builders Paradise and the National Housing Corporation.
The Labour Minister pointed out that some segments in the community might use the unfortunate termination of workers as “a political vehicle to rise, but that is self-serving and that will not get them anywhere.”
He noted that the workers have patronised businesses in town and deductions were being made from their salaries and wages and it was important that businesses try to assist these workers in these crucial and difficult times.
According to Minister Condor the situation needs a sober and mature response and effective leadership by all concerned.
“We have of course been monitoring what was termed an “economic downturn” in the United States of America since back in 2008; cognisant of the implication for us, particularly on the tourist and hospitality and manufacturing industries,” said Minister Condor.
He recalled that in January of this year, once it was clear that there was going to be a serious economic crisis worldwide, a Consultation on the Economy was organised by the Government, involving all Government Departments and Public Co-operations, in an effort to strategize a response to the impending crisis.
“Fiscal, financial and economic measures emanating out of this consultation, included a programme to actively pursue the collection of taxes owed to Government. In fact, in this regard a Bill was recently passed to give an amnesty period in which taxes owed to government could be paid without interest or fine. Additionally, Government Departments were encouraged to be prudent in financial transactions,” said Minister Condor, adding: “All measures implemented are intentioned to ensure that Government’s projects and programmes could be delivered unabated.”
He said the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government was always mindful that if the economic downturn worsened, giving rise to mass unemployment/layoffs, it would be only a matter of time before the local economic and employment situation would be impacted.