The Coronavirus pandemic has had devastating effects on New Zealand-based SkyCity Entertainment Group. The virus has had so much of a negative impact on the group’s sustainability that it has opted to shut down all five of its casino venues. Four of the venues are in New Zealand, with one more in Adelaide, Australia. The resulting job losses will see hundreds of people losing their regular income.
SkyCity CEO Graeme Stephens relayed news of the layoffs in an official statement, citing unprecedented circumstances as the reason that thousands of workers have had their fixed monthly income compromised. Closing the groups’ casinos was its only avenue as it has to obey regional safety guidelines designed to slow and hopefully eliminate the propagation of the deadly virus.
In the statement, Stephens goes on to explain that the casino operator can’t keep paying its workforce with no money flowing into the enterprise since the closure of the 5 gaming venues. In addition to this, it is still liable for continuing overhead expenses. The company embarked on its down-sizing process in Australia with at least 90% of its Aussie-based employees sharing in the misfortune. SkyCity has additionally slashed salaries across the board for permanent senior staff to implement an employee aid fund for those cut down in the mass layoffs.
Waged staff have been asked to take up to 80% less of their usual monthly pay. If employees and their respective unions choose not to agree to this request, the group has said that it will be forced to shed at least 700 more employees.
Directors get half a paycheque
SkyCity’s executive team has agreed up to 40% salary cuts per person per month for the remainder of the current financial year in an attempt to balance out the equation.
The casino operator’s board of directors has also stepped up, volunteering to have their remuneration reduced by 50%. The executive cuts will bulk up efforts to create an NZ$1 million Employee Hardship Fund that will dish out emergency funds to former members of staff swept up in the layoffs resulting from the global crisis.