Peninsula Hotel threatens to lay off staff if COVID-19 vaccination rate among employees does not reach 70% by month end

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9th June 2021 – (Hong Kong) The COVID-19 vaccination rate in Hong Kong is not as satisfactory. Recently, many private organisations have imitated the Hong Kong government’s practice to encourage employees to receive vaccination. A union revealed that the Peninsula Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui recently sent an internal notice to its employees Peter Borer, the chief operating officer of the parent company, THE HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI HOTELS, LIMITED stated in the letter that he was disappointed and angry with the employees who refused to receive the vaccine. The letter was issued after the staff meeting yesterday.

He also pointed out that the if vaccination rate among the hotel employees does not reach 70% by month end, the management may lay off staff. Some employees are dissatisfied with the threat from the management. Borer pointed out that Hong Kong has experienced huge challenges in the past two years, including the anti-extradition protests and the COVID-19 outbreak. The company’s hotel business has continued to record losses. The group lost HK$2 billion last year. Currently, it still loses about HK$60 million per month. There have been no layoffs in the hotel. On the contrary, about 2,000 employees of the company’s overseas hotels have lost their jobs.

Borer believes that demonstrating loyalty should be two-way and he expects employees to show their loyalty to the company and extend a helping hand and assistance to the company, calling on employees to get injections. Borer said that vaccination has nothing to do with politics. It is to protect the health of oneself and his family, and to allow Hong Kong to reopen its border and welcome tourists.

However, judging from the raging epidemic worldwide, it is unlikely that tourists will be allowed to enter Hong Kong in the short and medium term.

He criticised the spread of many rumours and misinformation about the side effects of the vaccine in the hotel. He pointed out that unless employees have reasonable health reasons, they should make an appointment for vaccination and submit the appointment record to the human resources department. He stated that if the company’s vaccination rate does not reach 70% by the end of this month, the hotel will implement more stringent cost-saving measures, which may include layoffs.

As for employees who have received injections, Borer said that each vaccinated employee can receive a HK$2,000 reward if overall vaccination rate reaches 70%.

Nevertheless, many pointed out that there is no doubt that vaccination can help achieve herd immunity, but injections should be a matter of personal wishes, and the union will oppose any measures that force employees to get injections. The union disagreed with the Peninsula Hotel’s threat of possible layoffs to force employees to get vaccination. The hotel should first introduce measures such as unpaid leave to reduce costs.

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