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**Loose Change**: Odd Story of the Month/Nassau Guardian
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Posted by:Jan 21st 2005, 06:36:27 pm
Fig Tree News TeamMan paid in pennies, nickels and dimes

By TAMARA McKENZIE,Guardian Staff Reporter

His claim was unbelievable but it was true. A fired employee of Majestic Tours visited The Guardian on Thursday to prove that his $1,000 severance pay had been issued in pennies, nickels and dimes.

With four Kalik boxes filled with lose coin pieces on the backseat of his car, Matthew Smith told The Guardian of how he and his colleague Bertrum Flowers along with another individual had been fired from Majestic Tours since 2001. He recalled that they were informed by management at that because of the 2001 U.S. terrorist attacks, the company had to downsize. He added however, that they were "really" fired because they wanted to establish a union.

Mr Smith said the matter was taken before the Labour Board and the employer was ordered to pay them $1,000 each. However, Mr Smith said he was shocked to be told by his former boss, William Saunders, that his monies would be issued on Thursday in one, five and ten cent pieces. Mr Smith said he was also told to bring along his own boxes to collect the heavy sum.

"He told me to come for the money today.When I got there, the $1,000 in change was there in one cent, ten cent and five cent pieces. To do me like this is really bad. I know he is doing it to spite us, that's all it is.

"I was surprised, but took the money because under the law, a man can pay you any way that he wants, as long as the money is legal tender," Mr Smith said, adding that he had to sign a document to prove that he received his portion of funds.

Meanwhile, Bertrum Flowers who accompanied Mr Smith during the "pick up" on Thursday, said he told that his $1,000 portion of loose change could be picked up on Feb. 9 and he too must not forget to bring along boxes.

On the other hand, Mr Flowers said he would not accept the monies from Mr Saunders unless every cent was counted directly in front of him.

"He has to count it in front of me and let me know what it is. If not, I will leave it there, plain and simple until he decides to count it. If he is going to pay me, he must pay me and let me know that it is $1,000," he said.

Mr Flowers, 65, claimed that Majestic Tours does not have a money shortage and Mr Saunders was just being a "bad man" because he and his former colleagues wanted to establish a union while employed at the company.

"He said before he has a union in his place, he would close the building down so I told him, OK, close it down, you don't own the franchise," he said

The former tour bus driver said the third fired employee received his money a week ago and was also paid in loose change. He also mentioned that this colleague had to pay the bank more than $100 to have the money converted.

Asked why the men were paid with loose coins, William Saunders of Majestic Tours responded, "Because I wanted them to have to go home and count em all over again and you can quote me on that."

Mr Saunders claimed that pennies are legal tender for any amount due and the amount that can be paid out to an individual is not limited in The Bahamas.

Mr Saunders said the men were dismissed and were "overpaid" but he was later taken to the Labour Board, which ruled in favor of the three employees. He said the Labour Board suggested that the men be given something "extra," but he claimed that this was only decided because the Board is "pro-labour and anti-employer."

According to Mr Saunders, he was directed by his Attorney to pay the men $1,000, but he wanted to pay them in change. "The money has been sitting in my office for three months waiting for them to come," he said.

Mr Saunders also mentioned that he gave the men access to his building from 10a.m. to 4p.m. if they wanted somewhere to count the money, but if they wanted to do otherwise, they had to sign a document to receive the monies in full.

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