KUALA LUMPUR: Due to the closure of many hotels, thousands of their workers and employees are among the worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, said the Malaysian Trades Union Congress.
Claiming that thousands of employees in the hotel sector had been affected, MTUC president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor (pic) urged the government to help them and the industry.
He said there were 30,000 employees who had lost their jobs, 10,000 others forced to take unpaid leave and another 6,000 suffered pay cuts.
“Between March 18 and May 27, through our Covid-19 Helpdesk, MTUC received 678 complaints from the hotel sector, including 383 cases for pay cuts, dismissal (186), forced leave (37), unpaid leave (54) and 17 cases over the enforcement of the movement control order, ” he said. To help these workers, he said locals must be given priority to fill job vacancies.
Abdul Halim, who is also GiatMara chairman, suggested that former hotel workers register for skills courses at GiatMara or other colleges so that they could change their profession.
“The government has to find a way to help hotel workers as well as others in the industry to help and protect the country’s human capital, ” he said.
The government, said Abdul Halim, should also formulate a master plan to ensure the industry’s sustainability, including promoting domestic tourism to help boost hotel bookings.
“Hotel owners should offer discounts and other benefits to attract customers while the government should offer discounts on electricity and water bills, as well as tax deductions, ” he said.
National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers Peninsular Malaysia secretary-general Rosli Affandi said it would be better if the government could provide those laid off with small business permits to help them start a new life.
“These hotel workers have been in the industry for a long time and may find it difficult to find jobs in other fields.
“With the business licence, they can operate their own business to earn income to pay off their loans and start a new life, ” he said.
Rosli said some 400 of its 8,000 registered members were affected by the closure of three hotels in Melaka and one in Petaling Jaya.
“We do not know the actual number of those affected because many hotel workers are not union workers. There are also many hotels that do not have trade unions, ” he said.
Rosli said it would be difficult to revive the hotel industry due to current restrictions on foreign and domestic travel.
A hotel worker in Langkawi, Fatin Shuhada, 25, said she was asked by her employer to take unpaid leave via a WhatsApp message, adding that she only received her letter two months after.
She used to be the front office assistant at the hotel, having started work in August last year.
“I was ordered to take unpaid leave until the hotel is back in business... but the human resources department told me not to have high hopes because there is a possibility that it will not survive.
“I have no backup plan yet. I want to look for a job but it is very difficult in Langkawi because the major source of income is tourism, which is in a very bad state now, ” she said. — Bernama
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