CORONAVIRUS/Mandarin Oriental Taipei hotel to lay off 212 employees
Taipei, May 28 (CNA) The Mandarin Oriental Taipei plans to lay off 212 employees on June 7, the Taipei City Department of Labor said Thursday, citing a redundancy proposal submitted by the five-star hotel to the department.
The hotel said in a statement issued Wednesday that it will not be accepting room reservations from June 1 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but that its restaurants and wedding banquet halls will remain open.
The hotel decided to partially suspend its operations as its occupancy rate has fallen sharply because of border restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic that have blocked foreign visitors -- its main source of customers -- from coming to Taiwan, it said.
The labor department has received the hotel's redundancy proposal for review, said Chen Hsin-yu (陳信瑜), director of the labor department.
The number of insured employees in the hotel normally stands at 863. It plans to lay off 251 employees and already reported layoffs of 39 employees between March 27 and May 27, according to Chen.
However, if the hotel insists on implementing a mass layoff of another 212 employees on June 7, it will be in violation of the Act for Worker Protection of Mass Redundancy, which stipulates that a business entity should inform the relevant authority of its redundancy plan by written notice at least 60 days before implementation of the plan, and could face a fine of NT$100,000 (US3,330)-NT$500,000, Chen added.
The stipulation applies to business entities with more than 500 employees that intend to lay off over 20 percent of their workers within 60 days, or more than 80 workers within one day, as well as those who intend to lay off over 200 workers within 60 days, or more than 100 workers within one day.
Chen suggested that the hotel should reach a consensus with employees to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business by taking advantage of the central government's bailout plan to help hoteliers.
She also expressed hope that the hotel can defer from laying off pregnant women and disadvantaged workers.
Also Thursday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said that the hotel has not applied for the central government's bailout subsidies, perhaps because of its operational strategic considerations, and that he will try to find out how the ministry can help.
COVID-19 has dealt a heavy blow to the local tourism industry, particularly the hotel sector, and hoteliers have adopted various strategies to respond to the the impact of the virus, Lin said.
For instance, the five-star Regent Taipei has transformed its operations by attracting domestic tourists to boost its occupancy rate, while the Mandarin Oriental Taipei has chosen to temporarily suspend its room occupancy operations in anticipation of the reduced number of foreign customers due to the border restrictions, Lin said.
Lin said his ministry respects the free market mechanism, but if hotels decide to go out of business, their workers' rights must be protected.
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