Subject: GUYANA MARRIOTT – PRESENT DAY SLAVERY
I would like to bring your attention to the Labor conditions at the Guyana Marriott Georgetown. This hotel was build without local Guyanese labor and it is now employing Guyanese under present day slavery. In an industry where in the United States of America the lower paying jobs are held by workers of Latino descent, here Afro Guyanese are holding these jobs and Latinos are in positions of authority.
I am appalled at the conditions under which I find my fellow Guyanese working. There is a blatant disregard for International Labor laws such as having workers work extended overtime hours and turn around to work an additional schedule without the benefit of rest of less than eight hours between shifts. They are not paid for the overtime hours after several months. The incentives guaranteed for overtime are not honored for months. The service charge which the clients paid for events and was supposed to go the the workers instead went to the Operating Budget while the Associates were given a minimum increase in the hourly rate.
The job descriptions for many areas are disregarded and workers are forced to work and do anything at the whim of the Latino Management including cleaning mold without the benefit of protected gear. Supervisors are working overtime hours and not paid overtime. Workers are asked to cross trained in areas where there is shortage of labor and are told that they will not be paid for working those days until they are proficient at the position. They are also asked not to come into work when there are no scheduled events and only work one a day per week. These are permanent employees with signed contracts offering forty hours a week.
There is condescending treatment of the workers by the Latino Management by harsh language and disrespect. The communication is disparate between that of the fellow Latinos and Afro Guyanese by the Latino Management. Promotions are given to fellow Latinos without due process of interviews or experience for positions. Cronyism at best. The workers are expected to provide ‘Brilliant Marriott Service,’ yet they work in uniforms that frequently are not ironed, are wrinkled and stained. But they are also expected to adhere to the Appearance Guide Lines which could subject them to Disciplinary Actions. Many times the workers have to spend additional time trying to get appropriate uniforms before they can clock in for their shifts and often result in them clocking in late which subjects them to loss of time and disciplinary action.
There is a total lack of appreciation for the work of our fellow Guyanese and often the focus in on minuscule items when the overall picture of working above and beyond is overlooked. The workers are provided with a daily complimentary meal which oftentimes is leftover meals from an event the previous day or earlier in the day. Most of these meals are ill prepared or lacking in nutritional substance.
In addition, the employees conversations are recorded in elevators and elsewhere in the building and camera surveillance is prominent throughout the building. Big Brother is always watching and listening.
The Guyana Marriott Georgetown has provided jobs for many Guyanese who are in desperate need of employment and income. This comes at a price that diminishes the dignity of working under fair and respectable conditions. The structure is beautiful on the outside and inside but the success is not coming from the building but the people that make it happen daily.
There is a forensic audit of the financing of the hotel but there must also be an audit of the working conditions. We, Guyanese, erred in allowing this hotel to be build without our labor but cannot stand by and be subservient to Ex-Patriate and Latino management. We have qualified Guyanese who must be given a seat at the table where decisions are made about the well being of our fellow Guyanese.
This colonialist mentality must end now before we celebrate Fifty years of independence. Independence from what must be asked if we are in Twenty First Century slavery at the biggest and most expensive hotel ever built in our country.
Kindly use your media to bring this matter to the attention of all Guyanese.