Marriott defends firing over 40 Guyanese workers

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The Marriott Hotel, Guyana [Guyana Chronicle photo]
The Guyana Marriott Hotel has defended firing a significant portion of its local workforce, saying that the decision was necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reports indicate that over 40 Guyanese who were employed by the hotel were sent home this week.

When contacted, the hotel’s Senior Director of Public Relations for the Caribbean and Latin America, Kerstin Sachl justified the decision.

She explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has gravely impacted the hotel’s operations.

“Business levels have been profoundly impacted by the pandemic, and continue to determine hotel operational and staffing adjustments,” she told this publication.

Due to the pandemic, profits which the hotel would usually garner have been at its lowest.

Closed airports mean that foreigners are not permitted to travel, leaving the five-star hotel unoccupied.

As such, there is no significant income stream, other than the local needs. Even the restaurant and rooms are not in demand due to the current situation.

With these unfolding events, the Marriott Hotel has been grappling to keep its doors open and services afloat. During the initial months, employees were placed on rotation and given a cutback on their salaries. This came with assurances that they would not be fired.

However, they showed up to work this week, only to be told that a decision was made to have them retrenched. They were given one-month salary, asked to clear their personal belongings, and then told to leave. Without warning from management, many staffers have come out to question this sudden move, since many of the overseas staff are still employed.

The Atlantic Hotels Incorporated (AHI) is the NICIL special purpose company that owns Marriott, a 197-room hotel that opened in 2015.