Coronavirus pandemic

Banyan Tree lays off 30% of 180-strong S'pore workforce

Overall, move over pandemic woes hits 10% of group's 11,000 staff across its brands

Hospitality group Banyan Tree has 47 hotels across various brands, including this one in Phuket. The company said it is helping affected staff find new roles or is offering them flexible employment. PHOTO: BANYAN TREE PHUKET
Hospitality group Banyan Tree has 47 hotels across various brands, including this one in Phuket. The company said it is helping affected staff find new roles or is offering them flexible employment. PHOTO: BANYAN TREE PHUKET

Hospitality group Banyan Tree has laid off about 30 per cent of its workforce in Singapore.

It has around 180 people working in its corporate office and headquarters here.

Overall, the exercise affects around 10 per cent of its 11,000 staff across its brands. The group has 47 hotels across various brands.

A Banyan Tree spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday that firms such as Banyan Tree have borne the brunt of the pandemic.

She said: "International travel has ground to a halt, so what reason do people have to stay in hotels for travel or business reason?"

She added that everyone in the industry is affected and that the company has introduced measures to manage costs.

While its hotels have not been shut, some have been scaled down to reflect softer demand.

She said: "We are making sure there are still rooms and key facilities but... some areas are closed, such as the pool or gym, depending on the social distancing rules in different countries."

The company is also helping staff to find new roles or is offering them flexible employment.

It set up an internal portal called Laguna Jobs to provide affected workers with operational roles when needed.

The spokesman said: "This portal gives us the ability to reach out to these people to offer the opportunities when the demand picks up. We also will look for opportunities in the industry or among our contacts."

The company is also offering complimentary classes within its human resources training academy to help affected staff gain new skills so they can find other jobs.

An alumni database has been set up to help staff who were in non-operational positions, such as corporate or support functions, if such job roles open up again.

STAYING FUNCTIONAL

We are making sure there are still rooms and key facilities but... some areas are closed, such as the pool or gym, depending on the social distancing rules in different countries.

A BANYAN TREE SPOKESMAN, on the scaled-down operations at some of the group's hotels.

The spokesman added: "We have taken the time to review this whole process. We don't take this lightly because it is a person's job (being affected). We took the last two months to see how to carry this out in the best way possible."

The Ministry of Manpower has noted that retrenchments in the first three months of the year hit a preliminary figure of 3,000, up from 2,670 in the fourth quarter of last year.

But this is expected to rise further as the circuit breaker restrictions, which forced most workplaces to close, began only in April.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2020, with the headline 'Banyan Tree lays off 30% of 180-strong S'pore workforce'. Subscribe