Story written by Ashecia Sam
With fifteen percent reduction in their salaries for over a year now and no word from their employer since, employees of CCA limited an entity of the Canouan Resorts Development Company say they are being exploited.
According to the letter written to the employees by the company, the reduction in their salaries began in May last year because of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has on the global travel industry.
The Canouan Resorts Development comprises three companies, the CCA limited which provides construction, architecture and maintenance services, the Canouan Estate and Mocan which offer hospitality services.
The CCA has a staff of over one hundred and fifty.
“Part of the letter said the decision would be reviewed, although a time wasn’t stated, we think a year is too long because things have picked up with the company since”, a female employee said.
“It was stated that if we don’t sign the letter, we will be fired, so people just gave in and signed”, said another employee.
Another female employee who works in services said “it is a year now and nothing has been done. We have been asking and nobody seems to care”.
She added that “the employees of both Mocan and the Canouan Estate got back their full salaries since last November and those at the CCA have not. This is very unfair”.
Another employee said “he (referring to their employer who is based in Italy) does not make himself available to be spoken to, so we don’t know where we stand, we don’t know where we are”.
Another employee who works in services said “we were not eligible for the government’s stimulus package because we are in the services’ field. While the others got payments from the National Insurance Services, we did not because we are not in tourism.”
The fact that our services are still being rendered and the house owners still have to pay their water and light, we still have to offer those services so why can’t we get our full salaries back”, one employee lamented.
The employees said they still have to work their full hours 8-5 daily and they are not being paid for their lunch hour. Some of us still have to pay our full rent to the company and all we are asking for is our full salaries.
The employees said it is very difficult for them since the reduction in their salaries.
“It is hard, and we do not have a general manager that we can relate our problems to and that is one of the issues that we have here”, a male employee said.
They noted that several emails were sent to their employer, but they are yet to get any response from him.
The employees said they would really like to have a forum with him to voice their concerns.
“It is not that we are ungrateful, we are grateful for the job, but nobody is saying anything to us. We think we are being exploited”, said one employee.
One News St. Vincent contacted the Labour Department to find out if this act is unlawful and the information provided is the law does not allow it. But given the current economic climate with Covid-19 and the recent eruptions of La Soufriere, the law has been relaxed and employees are advised to be more understanding of their employers during this difficult period.
The employees of the CCA said their employer should understand their plight as they are unable to meet their monthly requirements with the fifteen percent reduction in their salaries.