Shangri-la Hotels offering VSS to staff at two Penang properties

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Shangri-La Hotels (Malaysia) Bhd, controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Robert Kuok, is looking at a voluntary separation scheme (VSS) for two of its Penang properties to employees who are keen to apply.

The New Straits Times sighted an internal letter sent to employees of the Golden Sands Resort, and it is learnt that the same scheme is also being offered to staff of the adjoining Shangri-la’s Rasa Sayang Resort, both located in Batu Ferringhi.

“As you may be aware, the business of Golden Sands Resort has been severely impacted by unprecedented events in the past year,” the resort’s general manager Elaine Yue said in the letter which was dated Dec 24, 2020.

“Given the prolonged impact of the pandemic, we have determined a reduced workforce during this challenging time, may help to maintain long-term viability,” she added.

Yue, in her communication, stressed that the management was not selecting any employees for layoffs and participation in the scheme, which was purely voluntary.

“The scheme,” she noted,” is open to all employees except management category employees who are due for retirement in 2021.”

A Shangri-la spokesman when contacted for further details of the VSS, did not divulge details of how many staff had been targeted for the exercise, nor would reveal the current headcount at both hotels.

Instead, the spokesman said that the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on global economies, particularly the travel and hospitality sectors, had been severe and prolonged.

“Since the start of the pandemic, the company has consciously made cost management decisions that would allow us to retain as many employees for as long as we could,” the spokesman said in an e-mail reply to the New Straits Times.

The many proactive cost management initiatives implemented included salary reductions, shorter work weeks, hiring freeze and cuts in non-essential spending to mitigate the financial impact brought about by the pandemic.

“In Malaysia, we were grateful also to have benefited from the government’s wage subsidy programme which has helped to relieve some of our payroll pressures during these challenging times.

“At the same time, over the past seven months, we have extended goodwill payment and groceries assistance for our rank and file in Malaysia to help them through this period.”

Asked what revenue streams were coming to the two properties during the pandemic, the spokesman said:

“We have launched ‘Shang Shack Drive-thru’ for food and beverage (F&B) takeaways.

“To make it more rewarding for guests, we introduce ‘Eat, Pay, Stay – Pay to Eat and Free to Stay’.

“For every RM2 spent at our F&B e-platform and at the Shang Shack Drive-thru, guests will be entitled to earn one point which can be accumulated to redeem a room stay voucher from 350 points onwards.”

The room voucher will have a validity of three months from the date issued, with no limit on spending.

“In addition to the specially-crafted dishes available on our takeaway website, we are also setting up pop-up stalls selling Shawarma, Char Koay Teow, Penang Laksa, Hokkien Mee, Cendol and Satay.”

The stalls are open from 11am to 8pm next to the “Shang Shack Drive-thru”, located at the car park area between the two resorts. – NST