Over 2,500 workers from the gaming and hospitality sectors have been without any source of income for over two months.
The Union of Member Clubs and Lottery workers told Guardian Media that many of their members, mainly single mothers, are facing the toughest time since the closure of casinos, members club and lottery operators in April and in May as part of the measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The union said that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced that members will be able to access grants since they would be out of work.
But the president of the Union of Members Clubs and Lottery Workers, Joshua Johnson said that the promises never materialised and members are now calling on the union to step in and assist.
“We were told we would not get anything, that is what the person on the salary relief hotline said to us. We believe it is an oversight because you can’t tell me that because we weren’t sent home exactly on May 1, we won’t qualify for the salary relief grant.”
Johnson added, “I would have reached out to the Minister of Finance and the Minister in the Ministry of Finance Brian Manning and there has been no feedback and we are getting the runaround.”
Johnson said, “We waited for the first month and we heard nothing so we called and then we have been calling the salary relief hotline and they told us that the forms were declined and the reason it was declined was that it had the 29 of April of us being sent home.
“We are not violent people, we are not the type to protest, we attempted to exhaust all our options but it seems we are not being taken seriously.
“We believe it’s an oversight and this can never be the policy of the Government or the Finance Minister Colm Imbert.”
The union president said based on their tabulation, there are thousands of single parents employed in the sectors and they are facing mounting bills from mortgages to rent to even not being able to purchase food.
Joshua said what is worse is that members have not even been able to access food hampers being distributed to those in need around the country.
“The challenge is that we have not received grants or hampers from the Government and they would have sent us home”, he said.
The union president said letters have also been sent to the Ministry of Social Development and other relevant authorities in the hope members would be assisted.