State-owned hotel Hyatt Regency Trinidad has signalled its intention to temporarily lay-off staff and possibly even consider permanent job cuts in the future.
In a letter to “Dear Valued Hyatt Trinidad Colleagues” on Friday, the hotel’s general manager Richard Westell told of the “difficult decisions” the company would have to take as a result of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In response to the unprecedented decline in travel demand we have seen across the globe, we have had to take significant actions that have deeply impacted our operations and colleagues at Hyatt Regency Trinidad,” the letter stated.
“Unfortunately, as a result, we made the extremely difficult decision to implement temporary lay-offs across our hotel workforce for a portion of our colleagues. While we have made significant cost-saving measures as an effort to avoid this scenario, ultimately, these measures were necessary to secure the hotel’s long-term viability,” it stated.
“While our hope remains that all of the furloughs will be temporary, we must prepare for longer-term employment losses,” the letter stated.
The letter from Westell stated that Hyatt will continue to staff the hotel based on “anticipated occupancy levels.”
Affected employees are expected to receive their letters about the job statuses today.
While there is no majority trade union representing employees at the Hyatt, Gerry Kangalee of the National Workers’ Union said the union would be willing to help the affected workers.
Kangalee said Westell’s letter was a “clear warning to the workers that the management is not only implementing temporary lay-offs but contemplating retrenching workers.”
Kangalee said according to the Industrial Court “an employee may be said to be laid off when he is not offered work for a temporary period.”
He said the period of the lay-off must be stated in a letter to the employee who is being laid off and that it is illegal for it to be for an indefinite time-frame.
Kangalee advised affected workers to ensure they get a letter from the hotel.
Internationally Hyatt hotels have been laying off staff because of the pandemic.
In May Hyatt Hotels Corp HN announced it would lay off 1,300 people globally.
Hyatt said it had also cut pay for senior management, board members and all employees in corporate offices as part of a restructuring, adding that the staff who were being laid off would be eligible for severance pay.