Another interesting Harcourt story from February this year. Notice that "they asked Financial Controller Danny Doherty why they were being laid off in such a manner and he told them that the company did not have sufficient funds to keep paying them to work. He also told them that funds coming from their headquarters in Ireland was being cut off.". One wonders what the total financial situation is with Harcourt, and what would happen if Jersey faced a similar problem with its proposed Waterfront development. As far as worker's rights are concerned, consider that "the company may also be getting away with such inappropriate treatment of the workers because they know the government may not want to do anything to jeopardize any arrangements between them as far as the sale is concerned.". Once Jersey has taken started the massive hole-in-the-ground Hopkins masterplan, who would have the courage to rock the boat? The incinerator rescindment motion certainly failed in part because a contract had been signed, and members did not want to rock that particular boat.
Workers claim they were wrongfully terminated by Harcourt Developments
Twenty-one workers of Harcourt Developments (Bahamas) Limited spoke out against that company yesterday, stating that they have wrongfully been terminated and have filed a dispute with the Department of Labour because the organization is in breach of a 90-day contract with them. According to Jeffrey Johnson, a terminated worker and spokesman for the group, on Friday, February 13, they were given termination letters from the company's project manager Dwayne Higgs without any prior notice saying their services were no longer needed, even though their contract is not up until March 28. They were working as skilled craftsmen for the company's construction of the Suffolk Court Condominiums and were classified as ' temporary workers' complying with a 90-day employment contract between them and Harcourt. However, they are very disappointed with the company for suddenly terminating them, knowing they still had approximately six more weeks to go before the contract ended. Johnson said there were originally 32 workers on the project and the company has kept 11 persons on to possibly finish the work. Now that they have been terminated, and with the move being done in breach of contract, Johnson said Harcourt now owes them more money than the "measly" week and a half salary they were given along with their termination letters. Johnson said they asked Financial Controller Danny Doherty why they were being laid off in such a manner and he told them that the company did not have sufficient funds to keep paying them to work. He also told them that funds coming from their headquarters in Ireland was being cut off. He said 25 persons were also terminated in January of this year and to his knowledge there is a group of people who have taken the matter to court against the company. Johnson said they already filed a dispute with the Lab-our Department where they were informed that they have a good case. The group has also sought advice from an attorney. He said if the company had allowed the workers to continue working until the contract had expired there would not have been any problems. But, because they (Harcourt) have breached the contact, the group believes they should have been paid more if Harcourt saw the need to terminate them before time. Johnson said he believes that where the country's economy is really bad, Harcourt is using the whole situation to their advantage because where they are in agreement with the government to buy the Royal Oasis. He contends that the company may also be getting away with such inappropriate treatment of the workers because they know the government may not want to do anything to jeopardize any arrangements between them as far as the sale is concerned. ...Another terminated worker Anthony McPhee believes that Harcourt is manipulating the labour laws and using it to their advantage to short-change those em-ployed with them. "How is it that our Government is just sitting back and allowing this, maybe they did not know and if they didn't, we want them to know now that this practice has been going on and is continuing at Harcourt," McPhee said. "How is it that people are allowed to come here, be given a licence to do business and then be able to manipulate the labour laws. The government must stop this kind of thing from happening." McPhee said as far as he is aware, whenever foreign companies come into the country to do business, the government usually requires them to show how much the project will cost and where the money is to do it, and all of these things must be properly documented up front. "I don't understand them telling us that the economy is bad and that is why they can't keep us on or they run out of money because before the Government gave them the okay to start doing business, they would have had to give proof of having the money to carry the project through from the beginning," he said. "They just want to take advantage of the Bahamian worker. We were not out there begging anyone for nothing, we were out there putting our skills to work, these people have not been fair. No one is standing up for us or care about what happens to us."
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