Hotel workers face uncertain future as hundreds retrenched

No one has come forward to help those who are now unemployed due to the pandemic so far, says industry player

by NUR HANANI AZMAN/ pic by TMR FILE

WITH more hotels pulling down their shutters or carrying out retrenchment exercises due to Covid-19 pressures, the future of thousands of hotel workers remains uncertain.

National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers Peninsular Malaysia secretary general Rosli Affandi expressed his sadness for some 500 of its members who had been retrenched.

He said no one has come forward to help those who are now unemployed due to the pandemic so far.

“Even the domestic tourism recovery programme launched by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) recently does not pay much attention to the fate of those workers.

“It will be harder, especially for those 30 years old and above, to find another hotel job since most hotels are looking for young people,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

There are 8,000 registered members of the National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers Peninsular Malaysia to date.

Rosli said the retrenched hotel workers have been in the industry for a long time and may find it difficult to find jobs in other fields.

“Some of them may go into the insurance industry, but not all of them will be recruited.

“Most of them have also started their own businesses, but due to lack of experience, some have failed,” he added.

According to property consultant Colliers, eight out of 10 hotels in Asia Pacific had to temporarily close down at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in the first three months of 2020.

Last Friday, Berjaya Tioman Resort at Pulau Tioman in Pahang announced that it will cease operations effective from June 15.

The resort, on its Facebook page, said retrenchment will be carried out and all affected employees will be fairly compensated in accordance with the Collective Agreement and the Employment Act, amounting to a compensation of more than RM8 million.

“Throughout this closure, the management will embark on a much-needed major redevelopment to revitalise the resort which is more than 50 years old.

“Upon completion of the redevelopment exercise, the management will consider offering new employment opportunities to all our affected employees,” it said.

Motac on June 10 launched the domestic tourism recovery programme in efforts to revive the sector which was adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among the strategies are prioritising the use of digital platforms such as social media, blogs, websites and e-marketing to regain the confidence of the public to travel again.

Motac has taken several initiatives which include conducting an online Domestic Tourism Vibes course from May until December for tourist guides whose licences expire this year.

The Malaysian Association of Hotels CEO Yap Lip Seng thanked Motac for the initiative and its efforts to help the tourism industry restart amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the Recovery Movement Control Order.

“Motac’s domestic tourism recovery initiatives consist of a series of incentives and assistance to all tourism stakeholders and we can be sure that most would take advantage of them to restart promotional activities.

“We are already seeing more drastic actions, but I believe that what needs to be done has already been done.

“With the reopening of domestic tourism, hotels can now focus on driving business,” he told TMR.

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