We’re Not Clos­ing: In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal

Fiji Sun - - SUNBIZ - FRED­ER­ICA ELBOURNE Feed­back: com. fred­er­ica.elbourne@fi­jisun.

In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Fiji Golf Re­sort and Spa com­menced a five day con­sul­ta­tion process with work­ers yes­ter­day over a pro­vi­sional de­ci­sion to lay off 483 work­ers.

The five-star re­sort will how­ever re­main open, while it works on re­dun­dan­cies.

“We are not clos­ing,” gen­eral man­ager Lachlan Walker said in re­sponse to queries from SunBiz about let­ters is­sued to staff over the “po­ten­tial ter­mi­na­tion for re­dun­dancy.”

“We do re­main par­tially open and re­pairs will con­tinue.”

Out of bounds

The Club Lounge and club rooms are closed, along with some guest rooms, res­tau­rants and re­tail space pend­ing re­pairs af­ter Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Harold.

In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Fiji Golf Re­sort and Spa and the Hol­i­day Inn Suva are In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Ho­tel Group (IHG) mem­bers.

Hol­i­day Inn Suva re­mains open. Both prop­er­ties are among ma­jor re­sorts and ho­tel prop­er­ties owned by Fiji Na­tional Prov­i­dent Fund. The fund in turn con­tracts man­age­ment to global brands such as IHG and Mar­riott.

FNPF chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Jaoji Koroi said he will re­spond to­day to ques­tions over the mat­ter.

Pro­vi­sional de­ci­sion

“The re­sort has had to make some dif­fi­cult choices with all stake­hold­ers to re­duce costs and pro­tect our busi­ness for the long-term,” said area di­rec­tor hu­man re­sources South Pa­cific Biu Waqaniburo­tu. The re­sort has reached a pro­vi­sional de­ci­sion to re­duce its work­force be­cause of the sig­nif­i­cant down­turn in busi­ness aris­ing from the coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) cri­sis, he said.

Ex­pa­tri­ate and man­age­ment salaries were reduced among other con­tin­gen­cies the re­sort took at the on­set of the COVID-19 pan­demic in March 2020, he said.

“Our em­ploy­ees that were stood down were sup­ported and as­sisted,” Mr Waqaniburo­tu said.

The stood down work­ers were as­sisted from April 6 to June 13.

How­ever, the lack of in­di­ca­tion over the re­open­ing of in­ter­na­tional bor­ders, and pre­dic­tions that vis­i­tors may not re­turn un­til 2021, com­pelled man­age­ment to re­duce the ho­tel work­force, he said.

Man­age­ment in a let­ter to staff said the re­sort may not see vis­i­tors un­til 2022, “or even 2023”.

Pay out

Mr Waqaniburo­tu said a fi­nal de­ci­sion over a pay out to work­ers hinged on a 30-day con­sul­ta­tion process that be­gan with work­ers yes­ter­day.

Staff con­sul­ta­tions are ex­pected to con­clude on Thurs­day, July 9, 2020.

In a let­ter to staff dated July 2, 2020, In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Fiji Golf Re­sort and Spa said they were open to ideas about ways to avoid ter­mi­na­tion.

The let­ter also asked em­ploy­ees to sug­gest ways to lessen the im­pact of ter­mi­na­tion.

“We will give se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion to what­ever you might say to us be­fore we make our fi­nal de­ci­sion,” the let­ter said.

All writ­ten cor­re­spon­dence are ex­pected no later than Tues­day, July 5, 2020, the let­ter said.

Re­dun­dancy pay out was set at one week’s wages for every year of ser­vice.

Other en­ti­tle­ments will be added to the fi­nal pay out, from which staff debts to the ho­tel will be de­ducted. “Money you owe the com­pany will be deleted from fi­nal en­ti­tle­ments,” the let­ter said.

Re­lief ad­vance

In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Fiji Golf Re­sort and Spa had ini­ti­ated a weekly re­lief ad­vance scheme for staff at the on­set of the pan­demic.

Out­stand­ing sums from the scheme will be re­cov­ered from staff in the fi­nal pay out, the let­ter said.

In re­cent days, Fiji Mar­riott Re­sort Momi Bay, an­other FNPFowned prop­erty, also an­nounced its de­ci­sion to hold con­sul­ta­tions with work­ers over the way for­ward un­der the“new nor­mal”.

In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Fiji Golf Re­sort and Spa gen­eral man­ager Lachlan Walker.

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