Strike at The Aruban

ORANJESTAD — Employees of the hotel The Aruban are furious that their salary had not been paid again. Therefore, they had held a massive strike and loudly announced their protest in the lobby of the hotel.


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The employees should have been paid last week Monday already, according to Chairman Rudy Geerman of trade union FTA. "To show their good will, they had decided not to protest immediately, but to give the hotel the opportunity to still pay their salary", says Geerman. The staff members had received a memo from the management yesterday that it ‘would have sufficient funds at the end of the week to pay the salaries’. "That was when the bucket had overflowed. Perhaps it is adding fuel to the fire, but it is unacceptable that the personnel are constantly the victim of the hotel’s problems. The people also have to pay their bills."
Employees are confronted with fines, if for example their mortgage or car loan is not paid on time. "That’s not fair", says Geerman. The employees are requesting Minister of Tourism, Labor and Transport, Otmar Oduber (AVP) to mediate in the conflict. The employees are prepared to continue their actions, if a solution remains forthcoming, according to Geerman. However, the management had announced that it would compensate the relevant personnel if the salaries remained forthcoming for too long.

Things had already been brewing up much longer in the hotel. The Sales & Marketing department had closed at the beginning of this year, and eighty people had lost their job. The foreign hotel owners had reversed the aforementioned a few weeks later. The hotel is experiencing serious problems since the sale of timeshare apartments had decreased due to the economical crisis. Not even half of the apartments have been sold and the rest is rented to tourists. The hotel is also experiencing financial problems because one of the American banks – where the hotel had borrowed several millions florins – had gone bankrupt. The Aruban Resort had not received any financing from this bank because the curators had already attached such, which had led to immediate payment problems for the hotel.
The payment of salaries had not gone well for quite a while due to this situation. "However, the hotel is operating extremely well, all rooms are occupied, but the money disappears from the island" according to Geerman yesterday.

The employees of the hotel had previously also stopped working for a short period due to discontentment on the late payment of their salary. At that time, the hotel management had also indicated that there had not been sufficient money to pay them. According to Geerman, the management had verbally promised at that stage, to do its utmost in order to pay the salaries on time from then on.
The Aruban Resort at Eagle Beach consists of 362 rooms and apartments, a casino, restaurant, shops and swimming pools. The owner, KL International, had take over the hotel last year and invested millions of dollars on renovations. For example, the casino was to become the largest on the island.