Tue, Dec 23, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers call for halt to layoff plan for hotel staff

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers on the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday asked the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) to halt a layoff plan for staff at the Grand Hotel in Kaohsiung (高雄圓山飯店) after more than 100 employees were asked to take early retirement or redundancy.

The employees were promised a place on a priority list for re-employment in March.

Dissatisfied with the deals offered, employees demanded a better severance package.

The dispute came to the attention of legislators at the Transportation Committee, who asked the MOTC to delay the layoff plan.

“The hotel chose to do this before the Lunar New Year holidays, which is very bad timing,” said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順).

KMT Legislator Chen Ken-te (陳根德) suggested that the MOTC consider privatizing the Grand Hotel, following models adopted by Chunghua Telecom (中華電信) and Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp (台灣菸酒).

KMT Legislator Hou Tsai-feng (侯彩鳳) pointed out that both employer and employees had agreed in a hearing two weeks ago to several conditions.

These included setting the severance pay based on the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) and rehiring former employees on at least 70 percent of their original salaries.

Hou said, however, the employer sent the notices before some of the details were finalized.

MOTC Vice Minister Oliver Yu (游芳來) said personnel costs accounted for 87 percent of the hotel’s expenditure.

The hotel may have problems sustaining operations if it did not make job cuts, he said.

Grand Hotel chairman Chang Shuo-lao (張學勞) said on Sunday that the hotel would last less than three years if it failed to address financial woes, local media reported yesterday.

Chang said that, although the hotel’s assets totaled NT$4.3 billion (US$130 million), only NT$2.2 billion were available for use.

Some NT$900 million of which was reserved as retirement funds for its 1,100-member workforce.

The Grand Hotel’s club would be need to return deposits to members if they cancelled their memberships, which would leave the hotel with just NT$450 million.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER

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