Nepal's star-rated hotels start laying off workers


Star-rated hotels within Kathmandu valley have started slashing their workforce as they struggle to survive due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On July 20, Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) had signed an agreement with Nepal Free Hotel Workers Union regarding salary payment. To cope with the current crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, HAN and the workers had signed a six-point agreement. Based on the agreement, workers have been receiving their minimum basic salary. As the agreement is going to expire on December 31, the hotels have started requesting their workers to resign voluntarily.

According to HAN, Soaltee Crowne Plaza has already laid off 135 workers, while Radisson Hotel Kathmandu has let go of around 65 staffers so far. Meanwhile, Hyatt Regency Kathmandu has downsized by around a dozen workers so far and Hotel Annapurna has sent off 45 staff.

HAN Vice-president Binayak Shah stated that as the hotels are now unable to pay wages to workers, they have brought this scheme to lay off workers by clearing their outstanding dues, including their provident fund and other allowances.

While all other hotels have made it optional for staffers to resign, Hotel Annapurna has made it mandatory for its workers.

HAN is now preparing to have discussion with the workers’ union very soon, he added.

Amid this, a team from HAN visited Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel today and urged him to waive the loan interest of hotels for at least two years.

Citing that there is no sign of recovery of tourism industry for at least two years, a team led by HAN President Shreejana Rana made the request.

The government had extended the deadline for the tourism-related businesses to repay their loan and loan interest by one year via the Monetary Policy. However, the HAN has requested the finance minister to extend the waiver by one more year. HAN also informed the minister that the refinancing policy implemented by the government has turned out to be ineffective.

Meanwhile, Minister Paudel thanked the HAN delegation for apprising him with the challenges facing the hoteliers and assured that the government would come up with a win-win solution for all concerned.