It is hard to tell from its façade, but the hotel and hospitality industry is not well. Devastated by a steep decline in occupancy rates, the management of Ambassador Hotel has been forced to shave off departments and, with a few exceptions, furlough its employees with pay. In this, the Hotel is not alone.
A crisis that primarily afflicts businesses dependent on the physical movement of people, the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has badgered few as hard as the hotel industry. In the depression that has ensued, hoteliers have been forced into cutting costs to keep themselves afloat. For this, they turned to the one commodity that is in abundant supply - labour. If employers are not laying off their employees, they are slashing benefits and salaries.
With their livelihoods on the line, employees are fighting back. Despite being aware of the circumstances of their employers, they charge that the support for the industry from the government has not trickled down to them. This is in reference to a 3.3-billion-Br soft loan that was pledged by the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) to the industry for the next six months starting in May.
This is support that remains a pledge, according to the employers, who claim they still have not had the loans cleared from the banks due to procedures they must finalise to qualify. In this back and forth dance between employees, hoteliers and banks, 14 hotels have started laying off employees, according to the Ethiopian Hotel Professionals Association.
Facing an abyss, players in the industry agree on one thing, nonetheless. "The government is the last resort," as one expert puts it.
You can read the full story here .
PUBLISHED ON Jun 06,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1049]
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