PM on hotel poaching: “It’s a free market!”

Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has responded to concerns in the hospitality industry that new hotels are ‘stealing’ trained and experienced staff from established resorts.

“It’s a free market unfortunately – I shouldn’t say unfortunately –  It is a free market and labour is free to move wherever it wants to be able to move,” the former Tourism Minister said.

He asserted that it was bad planning to know that a certain size hotel would be built and training does not take place earlier.

“It was amazing to me that here the opposition criticised the minister of tourism for doing exactly that – for putting together a training programme to make sure  that other staff are not being poached and to make sure in fact that the hotels could have gottten trained staff ready for themselves,”  the Prime Minister told reporters.

“This is a lesson we must all learn, I don’t think it serves anyone well when we see that level of movement of staff from one hotel to another hotel and I can say to you that my government will do everything it can to  ensure that it doesn’t happen again and part of that is ensuring that we have better training programmes in place and anticipate the opening of new hotels,” Chastanet stated.

It was an obvious reference to the presence here of the Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa which in November last year began a screening and interviewing process to hire one thousand persons to fill positions at the hotel.

General Manager, Andre Dhanpaul, said at the time that applicants are being interviewed for jobs at the resort which would have opened in January this year.

Just this week, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)  expressed concern over poaching in the hospitality sector  warning that such a practice could affect the customer service rating across the region.

CHTA President Karolin Troubetzkoy said that there is an opportunity to reduce employment by building a larger segment of hospitality workers that can be hired for new properties.

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