[By VICTOR NZE]
Following agitations by labour unions in the hospitality sector of the economy demanding the sacking of Sheraton Hotels in Nigeria’s newly-appointed Cluster General Manager, Mr Rex Nijof, Tuesday, the hospitality establishment says it has already commenced investigations into the allegations made by the workers, even as it also appealed for calm.
The workers had demanded the dismissal of the General Manager for allegedly manhandling the Cluster Director for Human Resources at the hospitality establishment in Lagos.
Aside demanding the removal of Nijof, a Dutchman, the workers also listed other faults against the hotel’s manager.
However, responding to the allegations put out by the workers, through their representatives at the labour unions, including; the Hotel and Personal Services Senior Staff Association (HAPSSSA) and National Union of Hotels and Personal Services Workers (NUHPSW), Sheraton Management in Nigeria said it has already commenced investigations into the matter as raised by the labour unions, adding, however, that the workers did not officially inform it of its grievances, but opted to write to the parent firm, the Marriott Hotel Group, in the United States.
A statement issued by the Cluster Director, Public Relations & Communications in Abuja, Mrs Nanji Tyem, and made available to Oracle Today, said the Management of the company has now waded into the matter, and assured the workers that a decision will be taken based on investigation that it has ordered and already commenced.
“We take these concerning allegations very seriously and our regional team began an investigation as soon as they were raised to us.
“We understand that this is a worrying situation for our team at the hotel, but we continue to work through the findings with our union partners.
“The safety and wellbeing of our employees and guests is always our first priority,” the company said.
A letter written by the labour unions directly to the Chief Executive Officer, Marriot International, which is the parent firm of Sheraton in Nigeria, alleged that on the 3rd of October, 2021 the head of department and some selected members of the workforce, from different departments decided to visit Mr. Rex to celebrate his birthday on behalf of the entire team.
“These selected leaders went along with a befitting cake and a bottle of wine. Rather than appreciate this honest gesture, he molested, abused and dehumanized the Cluster Director of Human Resources, the leader of the delegation, slapped him on his chest and pushed him out of his door to the amazement of others.
“As if this was not enough, the following day Monday 4th of October, 2021 he sadly brought back the cake to the management team meeting. A blantant rejection of the goodwill of the entire workers. An action the entire workers considered a slight.
“A room, long allocated to the Director of Security before his deployment to the hotel, meant to ensure response to emergencies should the need arise, Mr Rex turned the room to his bicycles parking lot while the man was still occupying the room before being finally ejected, while millions of naira was spent purchasing brand new items for his own apartment in the hotel.
“Mr. Rex has created a serious unease in the minds of the workforce because if the cluster Director of Human resources can be dehumanized this way, it suggests that no one is safe. A very dangerous precedence has been created by Mr. Rex Nijof.
“In the light of this very unfortunate situation, we demand for the resignation of Mr Rex with immediate effect to save the hotel from the pending shame and ridicule his actions are bringing to the hotel and the entire workforce,” the letter by the labour unions read.