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Govt demands answers from Fairmont after mass layoffs

The government has demanded answers from Fairmont Hotels on its reason to sack all staff over what it attributed to uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic.

The hotelier that runs Fairmont the Norfolk and Fairmont Mara Safari Cub said on Wednesday that they have ceased operations as a spiral effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent flooding of Fairmont Mara Safari Club.

In a letter addressed to the Country General Manager, Mehdi Morad, Solicitor General Ken Ogeto on Friday, said the move by the hotel has generated a lot of public interest especially after some of the employees petitioned his office saying the due process was not followed.

“This matter is of public importance and great concern to the government and in view of the Attorney General’s mandate to promote, protect, and uphold the rule of law and defend public interest, this office should be very grateful if you would provide it with clarification regarding the said media reports and complaints from employees including on the veracity thereof and justification for taking such action, if this is the case,” Ogeto said in a letter dated May 29.

Declare all positions redundant

Ogeto noted the move to declare all positions redundant would have far-reaching consequences on the welfare of the employees and the country’s economy.

“This is therefore a matter of profound public interest, in respect of which this office demands a response,” he added.

In a memo to staff, the country manager said, owing to the uncertainty of the direction the global pandemic will take, they have been forced to terminate employee contracts and close their properties.

“Due to the global Pandemic will result in the business picking up in the near future, we are left with no option but to close down the business indefinitely,” Mr Morad said in the memo.

“It is therefore the decision of the management to terminate the Services of all its employees due to “frustration” by way of mutual separation and taking into account the loyalty and dedication the employees have put into the success of our company in the previous years.”

Employees will receive their termination letters by June 5.

All major hotels in Kenya have remained closed since mid-March when international flights were suspended and movement restrictions imposed by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19.