Management of Ryalls Hotel, the country’s’ only four Star Hotel, has taken a step further in its quest to ensure that its members of staff have the much needed job satisfaction by signing a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Hotel, Food Processing and Catering Workers Union (HFPCWU).
The signing ceremony, which took place on August 11 at the hotel’s Mulanje Room, has marked the beginning of a new chapter in the relationship between the Workers Union body and the Hotel Management, Blantyre Hotels Limited (BHL).
Speaking during the signing ceremony, General Manager for Blantyre Hotels Limited, Mischa Lehner, explained that management of the hotel would do everything possible to ensure that members of staff get better conditions of service because it realizes that staff play a significant role in the success of any business enterprise.
“A hotel is not only the building; it’s the people working who make it a good hotel. I am very glad that we have been given four stars but that would not have been possible if it were not for you the members of staff- your hard work and dedication,” he said.
Lehner explained that while the hotel management was currently taking care of its staff, it would not relent in its efforts aimed at satisfying the needs of the staff, saying it believes that the happiness a worker would have automatically spill over to the guests who come to the hotel. He pledged to ensure that the hotel management respects the rights of its workers in accordance with the country’s labour laws. Commenting on the attainment of the Four Star rating, the General Manager said while management was excited, it was aware that this required more hard work so that it does not slip. “It’s a huge accomplishment because guests will see us as Four Star as it is in other countries.
We shall always work hard,” Lehner said whose establishment has 144 employees. Regional Labour Officer for the South, Wafwire Msukwa, said government believes that all labour related negotiations should be done in an orderly manner. “The signing of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signifies that management and the workers Union branch at the hotel are not antagonistic but that you are working together.
Please make sure that you continue doing things in good faith and also use this agreement to sort out any differences you may have,” explained Msukwa, who represented government to oversee the signing in ceremony of the agreement. In his remarks, General Secretary for HFPCWU, Shakespeare Sesani thanked management of the hotel for being cooperative during preparation of the document and for being committed towards the welfare of staff even before any agreement was signed. “There is need to keep members of staff happy because a happy workforce is a productive workforce,” he said.
The General Secretary explained that previously, the relationship between management and the workers Union branch at the hotel did not have any pressing problems in their relationship. However, he said the sustainability of such a relationship required the backing of a legally binding document, hence the agreement. Sesani asked members of the workers Union at the institution to always channel their complaints and concerns through their Union leaders at the branch in accordance with the laid down procedures under the agreement.
The CBA provides for procedures which will be followed when members of staff or management go into negotiations. It spells out procedures to be followed when resolving disputes, undertaking retrenchments or redundancies, mediations, negotiations and any form of industrial action. It also spells out general conditions of service stating rights and duties of workers and also specifies the terms of reference for leaders of the Union branch, their term of office and other related matters. The Hotel, Food Processing and Catering Workers Union looks after the welfare of workers in the hotel and food processing industry.