The three workers who were dismissed from Pegasus Hotel are maintaining their innocence against accusations of theft levelled against them by Chairman Robert Badal and claim that he is trying to tarnish their reputations.
Otis James, one of the former employees, yesterday said that he is willing to defend his character at any given point since he has never been involved in any such activity. He also informed that he, Ceyon Boyce and Whitfield Archer received letters terminating their employment and cheques covering the benefits due to them last Thursday.
“Why pay us if we steal?” queried James, who said that Badal was trying to defend himself by destroying their credibility. He said they were contacted by the hotel’s Human Resources Depart-ment and they uplifted the documents.
In the letter dated September 20, which was seen by this blog, Badal informed the men that their services were no longer required and advised of benefits due to them. The letter stated that they were to contact the finance department for payment after they would have returned any hotel property they had. The chairman also thanked the employees for their service to the hotel.
Meanwhile, in a letter published in yesterday’s edition of Stabroek News, Badal said the men were caught stealing on September 18, given a hearing and dismissed after being found guilty. He added that the hotel previously had cause to reprimand them on their performance and honesty.
James said he was unwillingly to accept the assertions made by Badal and is demanding an apology from him. He noted that he is also a FIFA referee and such allegations will cause damage to his character.
In a recent interview, the Commercial and Clerical Workers Union (CCWC) said that its investigations into the matter of the former waiters had revealed that Badal made deliberate attempts to coerce his employees to derecognize the union as their bargaining agent.
CCWU Field Secretary Sherwood Clarke said it was found that Badal was trying to get rid of the union by trying to force his employees to sign a form derecognizing the union at the hotel. To date, 22 workers have opted out of the union, while 26 workers have so far refused to sign the form. He pointed to what obtains at Guyana Stockfeeds Limited, claiming that shortly after Badal assumed ownership of that business, the union was driven out and no longer represents workers there.
While Badal has indicated that the CCWU no longer represents Pegasus workers, Clarke said no manager had the authority to derecognize the union; rather, power lay with the workers and their chosen representation.