The Multinational Monitor


G L O B A L   N E W S W A T C H

Bermuda Strike Empties Holiday Inn, Other Hotels

About 8,000 hotel workers, teachers, taxi drivers, shop employees, longshoremen, bus drivers, sanitation workers, electric utility workers and others joined Bermuda's hospital and government employees for part of a 25-day strike which almost entirely shut down the island's tourism-based economy in late April and early May.

Bermuda's two largest hotels, the 600-room Southampton Princess and the 459-room Hamilton Princess, are owned by Princess International, a subsidiary of Daniel K. Ludwig's National Bulk Carriers. Holiday Inn also runs a 296-room hotel in St. George's. All were entirely empty for more than a week during the strike.

Coming at the peak of the tourist season, the strike cost more than $1 million a day in lost tourism revenues.

Tourists left the island in droves during the strike, which forced all the major hotels to close, caused airlines to reduce their flights, and prompted cruise ships to stop at Nassau instead of Bermuda. Power outages, closed shops, and interrupted garbage collection for Bermuda's 55,000 permanent residents also resulted.

The settlement of the strike, reached on May 7, gave 1,150 blue-collar government workers a 20 percent wage increase. They had demanded 22 percent, while the government had offered 16 percent. Most of the workers now earn about $200 per week; government officials have confirmed that it costs an average of $300 a week to live in Bermuda, which has one of the highest standards of living in the hemisphere and an inflation rate of more than 15 percent annually.

The Bermuda Hotel Association-of which all hotel owners are members-"negotiated with the government" concerning the final settlement,-said Rosanne Blatt, Bermuda sales coordinator for Princess International. "Everything's back to normal now," she said.

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