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High-end hotel Kempinski sacks workers amid pandemic

High-end hotel Villa Rosa Kempinski plans to send home many of its workers, underlining the unemployment crisis worsened by Covid-19 impact.

In a memo to staff, the Simba Corporation-owned hotel said the business has been greatly affected as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Kenya.

Managing Director Roberto Simone said the hotel would pay redundancy dues in accordance to the Employment Act, 2007 and the Collective Bargaining Agreement currently in place.

He, however, did not indicate how many workers are targeted to be laid off.

The dismissals add to the pain of job losses that have hit corporate Kenya affecting many households as breadwinners lose their income amid rising cost of living.

Last week, Mr Simone told the Business Daily that 90 percent of the revenues for hotels around the world, Kenya included, has been erased as restrictions on travel and hospitality, and the cessation of movement in and out of key investment destinations like Nairobi and Mombasa have also adversely affected local and international business travel.

“It is against this backdrop and for sustainability and long-term success it is anticipated that the restructuring will affect multiple departments and cadres of employees and will therefore result in redundancies,” said Mr Simone.

Affected workers have been advised to get in touch with the human resource department for further clarification.

“We are confident that the proposed changes will put the hotel on a firm footing and allow us to grow sustainability for the years to come,” says Mr Simone in the letter dated June 9, 2020.

Hospitality and travel sectors are among the hardest hit even as Kenya’s Covid-19 cases near the 3,000 mark after the Health ministry reported 127 new infections on Tuesday, bringing the national tally to 2,989.

Top hotels, that have seen massive loss of revenue, have drastically downsized their operations, sent staff on unpaid leave while some have shed jobs.

Some hotels such as the Sarova Stanley, Hotel Intercontinental and the Fairmont Norfolk have closed their doors altogether.