Bagina maintains claim on service charge for workers

POSTED: 09/13/11 12:48 PM

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – Rui Bagina disagrees with civil law attorney Wim van Sambeek about the entitlement of workers in the hospitality to the service charge companies add to their restaurant and hotel bills. Van Sambeek called the claim “legal nonsense.”
“If it is nonsense, let’s clear it at the table and in the eyes of the public,” Bagina said in a written statement. “Let’s do it fast and in good faith. Is my answer to Mr. Van Sambeek about my appeal to employers to give their workers what belongs to them and my appeal to workers to stand up for their rights.”
Bagina claims that service charge is “in general not obligatory.” He says that customers have the right to refuse to pay whenever they feel their service was not to their satisfaction. “Let the employer or the manager call the police. I personally do not think that any restaurant owner would call the police against a customer who refused to pay the service charge. Why should we pay for a service that was not to our satisfaction? When a customer refuses to pay the employee has to be questioned about it. It would not be the police who would force the guest to pay for it.”
Bagina corrects an interpretation of a statement he made in this newspaper yesterday, where we wrote that employees could claim at least $1,000 in back pay on service charges for each year they have worked for a company. “I said at least $1,000 each month,” Bagina clarifies.
Bagina would like a further explanation from van Sambeek about the difference between tips and service charges, referring to his statement that “other than tips, service charges do not belong to the employees.”
Bagina wonders where this is written. “We need justice in this matter.” He maintains that the employers are taking money away from the workers by keeping the service charges away from them. “I can easily imagine customers getting angry when they hear that servers were refused their service charge – their tip.”
“I am not here to give Mr. van Sambeek lessons about legal matters,” Bagina adds. “No, I am not that naïve. But yes, I am here willing to debate this serious matter which is affecting the workers, the government, the companies and the community as a whole. We need to debate this matter in good faith to get it resolved once and for all.”
Bagina maintains that, if the workers are not entitled to the service charge, the businesses should not charge it to their customers. “They are paying for it believing that their servers will get it. If the companies are not ripping of their employees with the service charge, then they are ripping off their customers.”

Did you like this? Share it:
Bagina maintains claim on service charge for workers by

Comments are closed.