Fairmont Hotels and Resorts management has withdrawn a notice issued last month indicating that it was laying off all its staff over the effects of the novel Coronavirus on the economy.
In a memo on Thursday, the management said its earlier decision was reviewed after a consultative meeting held with the Workers Committee Management and the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions and Hospital Workers (KUDHEIHA) on Wednesday.
“We would like to reiterate that the owners, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and subsequently Accor Hotels are very committed towards the health, safety and wellbeing of the employees,” read part of the new memo.
“To this end, the Management has withdrawn the said memo as we continue with consultative meetings with all stakeholders until an agreement is reached.”
The union had protested the sacking of the employees as detailed in a memo dated May 27 from the management saying the move contravenes provisions of an existing Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA).
Among issues discussed during the Wednesday meeting includes payment of 50 per cent of salary payments for the month of May.
The affected employees had also raised complaints through the office of the Attorney General forcing the government to seek an explanation from the management over the mass sacking.
In a letter to the management, Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto said the matter was “of profound public interest” and could affect many households.
“This matter is of public importance and great concern to the Government and in view of the Attorney General’s mandate to promote, protect and uphold the rule of law and defend the public interest, this Office should be very grateful if you would provide it with clarification regarding the said media reports and complaints from employees, including on the veracity thereof and the justification for the taking of such action, if this is the case,” a letter signed by Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto directed to the company read in part.
“As you would appreciate, such a decision, if taken, would have far-reaching implications on the well-being of many households and indeed, the Kenyan economy in general. This is therefore a matter of profound public interest, in respect of which this Office demands a response. We look forward to hearing from you, promptly.”
During the Madaraka Day celebrations on Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta noted that the government had been alarmed over job losses in the hospitality sector as many facilities remain closed following the Covid-19 outbreak.
The President directed the National Treasury to allocate Ksh2 billion to the tourism sector to cushion members of staff affected.
The Head of State said the funds will be distributed to support hotels and related establishments to ensure that they are able to maintain their staff compliments.
“I have noted with concern the fact that our hospitality sector that has been greatly hit as a result of lockdowns we have many our workers seemingly being laid off as a result of there being no business in all our hospitality facilities, ” the President said.
“In order to cushion this workes and to work inline with this sector my administration will focus on intervention by offering an initial Ksh2 billion from the exchequer to support hotels and related establishments.”