BVI: Employers using COVID-19 as excuse to cut staff should be held accountable

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Marlon Penn

(BVI NEWS) – Opposition Leader Marlon Penn said employers using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to cut staff should be held accountable.

Penn said while some employers are practising good corporate responsibility, there are others taking advantage of the situation.

He said: “A lot of the businesses have done a good job in trying to help their employees transition during this period, and I want to commend those businesses.”

The Opposition Leader said employers in that category continue to pay staff who are working remotely or at their respective homes.

However, he said there are others “who are using the opportunity to just get rid of persons and do the opposite”.

“Those persons, when the time is right, they need to be dealt with. We need to keep a list and check it twice because those employers who have taken advantage of a bad situation and have put many of their employees on the street have to be held account for their actions,” Penn argued.

Hundreds lose employment

He further told the House of Assembly that hundreds have already lost their jobs after the closure of resorts territory-wide.

“All of our major resorts have practically shut their doors. One in my district, Scrub Island, has laid off close to 300 staff. I got a call today about The Moorings who have also laid off their staff for three months — without pay, I might add,” Penn stated.

He said he believes others will soon follow due to the current situation which has caused the government to close its borders.

“The reaction is they don’t have customers coming to their hotels so they cannot keep those doors open.”

In the meantime, Penn stated that these persons are now faced with the dilemma of figuring out how they would be able to feed their families for the next three months.

“These are real concerns. These are bread and butter issues being faced by many families throughout this territory. Many single parents who live off subsistence wage who depend on not even their salaries from these resorts, but their tips. Their tips are what drives them and drive them to pay their bills, feed their children, and their families,” he added.

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