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Villa Rosa to send home workers

Saturday June 13 2020
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Villa Rosa Kempinski Kenya General Manager Roberto Simone after he was unveiled to the media at the facility on August 13, 2019. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BONFACE OTIENO

Five-star hotel Villa Rosa Kempinski will send home an undisclosed number of its workers, underlining the worsening unemployment crisis.

In a retrenchment decision that comes as a blow to its staff, Kempinski said its decision is due to rising cases of coronavirus, which have chopped the number of guests to the hotel, greatly affecting its operations.

Kempinski Kenya Managing Director Roberto Simone did not, however, give an indication as to how many workers the facility, which is one of Nairobi’s premier hotels, is planning to send home.

“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.

Mr Simone indicated they will pay redundancy dues in accordance with the Employment Act, 2007 and the Collective Bargaining Agreement in place between the two parties.

Workers at the hotel who have been affected by the retrenchment decision, he said, have been advised to get in touch with the human resource department for further clarification.

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“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,” said Mr Simone in the letter dated June 9, 2020.

The dismissals add to the pain of recent job losses that have hit corporate Kenya in a blow to affected households as breadwinners lose their income at a time of rising costs of living.

The hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit following the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

The deadly virus, which saw Kenya on Tuesday reporting 127 new cases, bringing the total number of infections to 2,989, has seen the sector record a drop in guests, resulting in a fall in revenue.

A number of hotels including Serena have sent their workers on unpaid leave until further notice in the wake of Covid-19.

The Fairmont Norfolk last week withdrew a notice that had fired all employees and closed the iconic hotel in Nairobi indefinitely following a pay dispute triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The closure of the Norfolk  and the attendant layoffs came after the employees declined an offer to remain on unpaid leave during the coronavirus period and demanded a 50 per cent pay, triggering a protest letter from the Attorney General’s office.

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