Resorts make staff redundant

Wednesday June 17, 2020 Written by Published in Economy
Nautilus Resort Rarotonga. Picture: Booking.com/20061612 Nautilus Resort Rarotonga. Picture: Booking.com/20061612

Muri-based resorts forced to make staff redundant after fallout from Covid-19 crisis continues with no end in sight.

A number of workers from Nautilus and Muri Beach resorts have been given a month’s redundancy notice.

However, Resort operations manager Ross Buchanan told Cook Islands News the specifics of what and how many positions made redundant was a private matter between the resort and affected staff members.

Buchanan also did not comment on whether the resorts applied for and received any government assistance including the wage subsidy.

“These redundancies were made now, in the hope we do not have to make more in the future,” he said.

He said that the redundancies were made now and a one-month notice has been given to the workers.

Buchanan reassured that no one affected by these redundancies will be left without support, and the resort would ensure they are cared for until such time as they are able to be repatriated to their home countries.

“These redundancies were made now, in the hope that we do not have to make more in the future,” he said.

Buchanan said the negative economic effects caused by the border closures has affected everybody in the Cook Islands with the tourism industry in particular being one of the hardest hit.

He said that since the borders closed in March, Nautilus and Muri Beach Resort like everyone else was left in an unprecedented situation with no end in sight.

“It is now three months later and the future is still uncertain for anyone involved in hospitality and tourism.

“Like so many other operators we have had to look at our operations and see how we could best reduce costs to ensure that both resorts would be able to weather the closure and be in an economic position to reopen with the return of our guests - at what point in time that maybe is still uncertain.”

Buchanan said that with the date for the opening of the borders being uncertain and their occupancy reports for the next four months being below 20 per cent and no real sign of them improving, they have had to make some extremely real tough decisions on how they can reduce operational costs and ensure the long-term viability of the business.

“Thus, allowing us to keep majority of our workforce still in employment and the business financially viable to carry on into the future.”

He said one of the costs saving measures they have taken has been to reduce their staffing compliment by approximately 10 per cent.

“We have restructured our team such that we can maintain the employment of as many staff as possible with only the positions chosen to be made redundant are those that are no longer required to operate under the conditions that we forecast - with operations running at 20-30 per cent of what we would normally operate at.

“In fact, we consider that with even this reduction in our staffing levels, our levels of staffing will still be in excess of what will be required for some time, based on current forecasts.”
He said they have held off on taking this route until now in hopes that the industry would bounce back quickly.

“But sadly, this does not seem likely. We chose to make these staff redundant now so that we could ensure that they have an opportunity to find new positions, should they choose to, while still receiving an income.”
He said expatriate staff that do not find new positions will be repatriated to their home countries once the borders have opened and airlines have returned to the skies.

He reassured that no-one will be left un-cared for while still in the Cook Islands.

 “This is an unfortunate step that we have had to take at this point in time, a step that we have not taken lightly. Should the circumstances change, we would look to them to re-employ if the situation arises.”

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