Sun International to cut staff salaries, 'temporarily' lay off some workers post lockdown

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Hospitality and gaming company Sun International has proposed reducing working hours and salaries for its staff after the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus ends, in order to avoid mass retrenchments.

The company has informed its employees and representatives of the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) that on May 1, when trading is expected to recommence, it will have a shift system with reduced working hours in place. 

Sun International runs a number of hotels, resorts and casinos, including Sun City, Sandton's popular Maslow Hotel, and the Wild Coast Sun. Its operations are currently shut. 

In a statement on Friday the group said that once the lockdown ends, some employees will be told to resume work, while those who are not called back will be “laid off temporarily” as the group ramps up to full operation. Venues like Sun City will at first only open a limited number of hotels and increase openings depending on customer activity.

As employees return lockdown shift systems with a minimum of four hours per day will be put in place. Permanent full-time employees who work 150 hours per month can expect a 20% salary reduction, while employees earning over R1 million will also see a 30% reduction in salaries. 

Non-shift employees required to report to work will see a 20-29% salary drop, while those who are not called in for work will have to apply for the UIF.

“While we understand that these changes will have a substantial impact on the people of Sun International, we need to ensure the long term sustainability of the company so that we can protect as many jobs as possible.

“If these changes are not made, we run the risk that our funders will no longer provide the capital we need to continue to operate,” said the group in a statement.

Saccawu, in respo statement, said the union is declaring a dispute over the company’s unilateral decision to reduce remuneration and working hours, and to lay off staff.

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