Hong Kong’s hotel workers are paying the price for nearly three months of anti-government protests, with many placed involuntarily on paid and unpaid leave as occupancy rates go down. The Post has learned that the Mira Hong Kong, in the tourist district of Tsim Sha Tsui, has become the latest of the city’s high-end hotels to put employees on leave. InterContinental Hong Kong hotel has asked staff members to take annual leave and unpaid leave to save money. Also, 10 hotels operated by Li Ka-Shing’s CK Asset Holdings reportedly making a similar move.
Hotel Mira Hong Kong
A worker at the Mira said the company had assigned annual leave for staff on the roster this month without asking them. She estimated one-third of the housekeeping team was being asked to take a break. Following the hotel’s occupancy rate dropping down. While bosses had not officially told the staff about the move, the worker believed it was because of the poor economy. The worker wished to stay anonymous.
“I feel unhappy … It is summertime which should be very busy. This is all because of the protesters. They should protest peacefully instead of making Hong Kong unstable. Tourists are not willing to come to Hong Kong anymore.” The Mira employee said
Hotel occupancy lower than ever
Since June 9 streets of Hong Kong have been overrun by protestors. Clashes have broken out in various parts of the city over the past weeks, including at Hong Kong International Airport. Operations were disrupted for six days in a row last week. During two days of that period, nearly 1,000 flights were canceled. That caused a huge financial hit and an eventual resignation of Cathay Airlines CEO.
“The impact on tourism is huge, half of the mainland visitors due in August are likely to cancel or defer their plans,” Yiu Si-wing, Hong Kong lawmaker, said in a press statement
It is estimated that hotel rates have dropped down more than 50% and show no signs of going back up. The Hotels, Food, and Beverage Employees Association urged bosses not to force staff to sign agreements on unpaid leave, saying doing so might breach the Employment Ordinance.