8 November 2017

Gambia: Kombo Beach Staff Complain of Short Seasonal Contract

Staff of Kombo Beach Hotel came into Foroyaa offices to raise their concern on their appointment letters given to them by the management of the hotel. They said the letter indicated that they are on seasonal contract for three months only, instead of the six months they are used to.

They complained to this reporter that this has never happened in the hotel since they started working there; that they have spent more than ten years in the Hotel and this has never happened.

"We were not given any letter to indicate the reason why they decide to employ us for three months instead of six months," he said.

"My concern is that after the three months, are we going to have any benefit from the hotel or not? We also want to know whether it is indicated in the Labour Act that a Hotel can employ a seasonal staff for three months, instead of six months as we all know that the tourist season in The Gambia is six months," he said.

He said they also want to form an association for the seasonal staff at the hotel but were not given the green light by the previous management.

"Some of us who were at the forefront for the establishment of the association were discouraged and asked to stop its formation. This is why we decided to come and let the authorities know what is happening at Kombo Beach Hotel," he said.

This reporter visited the management of the said Hotel for them to throw light on the matter.

Filip Hofman, the General Manager of the Hotel said the main reason why they decided to employ seasonal staff for three months instead of six months is that last year, they employed of them for six months; that this was during the political impasse, when tourists were not around and the hotel had to pay them which brought losses to them.

Hofman added that if they want they can employ seasonal staff for one or two months; that they are not permanent staff; that they are on contract and management has to look at the trend of the season before employing people. "We have to consider the progress of the hotel too," he said.

He said if the season is good they would not mind to extend their contact for another three months but they cannot risk it for the hotel as at now.

Madam Salma Abourizk Alaeldin, the Finance and Administrative Manager of the hotel said some of the seasonal staff should be reasonable with them.

She said the hotel has experienced such in the past years.

"Year before last, we employed them here and when there was that Ebola situation, there were no tourist and we had to pay them. Last year was also the same situation. Our wish is to be with them year-round, "she said.

The Finance and Administrative Manager however disagreed with the workers on the formation of their association; that they were the ones who asked them to form an association in order to help themselves and to enable them to be meeting with management to discuss matters affecting their well-being.

"I believe in dialogue and I am sure if they want to complain certain things affecting them, it may not reach the manager. But with such an association, their voices can be heard by Management," she said.

Gambia

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