Javon Davies, far right. *Photo by Mikaela Ian Pearman
Javon Davies, far right. *Photo by Mikaela Ian Pearman

Javon Davis remembers the shock and the sinking feeling of not knowing what was going to happen next.

The 27-year-old bar porter received a call to come into work for a meeting on a Friday in January. He was sick, he didn’t want to go in, but he was told his presence was needed; it was a mandatory meeting.

He arrived at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess to find out he was being made redundant; management said his position would no longer be needed.

“I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it,” he told the Bermuda Sun last night.

“I was thinking about what happens next. I just had a little girl two months ago and I have a two-year-old son. I was thinking, how was I going to provide for them? Especially with everyone fighting for jobs nowadays.”

He had no idea that the raft of redundancies at the hotel would touch off an island-wide work stoppage by the Bermuda Industrial Union.

Mr Davis remembers meeting with his union steward, a man who is in charge of stock and inventory at the hotel. Soon thereafter came a sitdown with union brass. 

The union would eventually come to loggerheads with hotel management, before both sides reached an agreement to reinstate four of the 10 workers that were made redundant.

Come May 1, Mr Davis will once again have employment at the hotel, although it may be in a different role.

Mr Davis, who hails from Devonshire, will have worked at the hotel for 10  years this August.  

A typical shift usually involves wiping down the bar with sterilizer, cutting fruit that will be needed for cocktails, stocking the fridges, washing the mats that sit atop the bar and any glasses that were left out from the previous shift, unpacking bottles, placing trash bags in the necessary bins and replenishing necessary bar supplies like pineapple juice and Rum Swizzle, among other tasks. He says he relishes the work.

“I loved that place. I enjoyed working at the hotel and meeting people and I enjoyed the environment,” he said.

He does not know what to expect when he returns to work in a few months’ time. “It’s always going to be a struggle. They’re going to have us under a microscope. You shouldn’t be uncomfortable in your workplace.”

He plans on laying low and spending more time with his children until he is reinstated this spring.

He said he was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support from the community — typified by the marches earlier this week and the BIU strike that disrupted public transit for more than a day.

“I was overwhelmed,” he said.