Millennium Hotels and Resorts cuts 159 jobs amid Covid-19's poor business outlook

The downturn has hit operations and performance hard, added the firm.
The downturn has hit operations and performance hard, added the firm.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

SINGAPORE - Millennium Hotels and Resorts will cut 159 jobs - or 15.2 per cent of its headcount here - as part of a review of its local office and hotel operations amid the pandemic-induced downturn.

"This is a difficult but inevitable move," said a company statement on Wednesday (Aug 19). "The global pandemic and economic fallout have hit the hotels hard."

It noted that about one-third of the company's hotels globally are temporarily closed while "those that remained open were operating at much lower occupancies than before".

The downturn has hit operations and performance hard, added the firm, which has already tightened expenditure across the company, including reducing salaries for senior leaders by up to 30 per cent.

The lay-offs will affect more foreigners than Singaporeans, the company statement said.

Millennium Hotels and Resorts had already cut the number of foreign employees from 520 to 329 between January and mid-August - a reduction of 37 per cent.

The new layoffs announced on Wednesday include axing a further 42 foreign staff.

"This will bring our Singapore core from 61 per cent in January to 69 per cent," the firm said.

Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union general secretary Tan Hock Soon said the union had been working with Millennium Hotels and Resorts "to implement cost-saving measures, comprising redesigning of jobs, training and redeploying of workers, and carrying out group-wide wage reduction".

He added that the salaries of workers earning below $4,600 have also been protected, with no wage cuts to date.

But "even with the cost-savings measures in place, (the company) still suffered losses globally and locally and had to turn to retrenchment as the last resort", he said.


The company will provide "eligible represented workers with a retrenchment benefit of one month per year of service, advance notice or salary in lieu of notice as provided for under the collective agreements", Mr Tan said, adding that the union "is grateful that the company continued to honour the collective agreements for this group of workers".

Millennium Hotels and Resorts said it plans to use part of the Government's wage subsidy scheme for Singaporeans to invest in its talent pool as the economy continues to recover.

Mr John Tan, its vice-president of human resources for South-east Asia, said: "This global pandemic has severely disrupted our lives and businesses in unprecedented ways.

"We need to recognise that in this new economy our business will take time to return to pre-Covid-19 levels, thus the rationalisation is unavoidable for our business to remain viable for our employees and stakeholders."

"In addition to the severance package, we will be working with (the union), e2i and Workforce Singapore on providing job assistance and support."

The union's Mr Tan said: "We are appreciative that (the company) had also committed to provide affected workers with an additional 12-month paid union membership so that they can benefit from the union's assistance during tough times."

The union has worked with the company to provide job-matching assistance through the National Trades Union Congress' e2i (Employment and Employability Institute).