Get jab or risk job cuts, top hotel tells staff

One of Hong Kong’s most famous hotels has told staff to get vaccinated or face the risk of layoffs after the end of this month if it fails to hit a target of having 70 percent of staff inoculated.

The Peninsula in Tsim Sha Tsui is offering employees a HK$2,000 subsidy for getting fully inoculated and will offer a further HK$2,000 when the 70 percent target is met.

But, in a memo to staff, a senior executive of its parent company, The Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels, said he was “very disappointed and very angry” that some workers had refused vaccination.

Peter Borer, chief operating officer for the group, said so far no staff at The Peninsula had been laid off while 2,000 workers elsewhere in the group had lost their jobs.

“I plan to revisit the hotel in July and if we have not reached the target … I will announce much more stringent cost-saving measures, which might include layoffs if the business situation has not improved,” he wrote

He said the virus and its variants were not going away and would come to Hong Kong eventually, adding that “this has nothing to do with local politics”.

Borer added that the company was losing HK$60 million a month after posting a HK$2 billion loss last year.

The Peninsula confirmed that Borer wrote to staff after a meeting earlier this week, but said the emphasis was on encouraging employees to take the vaccine, not forcing them to do so.

Many employers have offered incentives and paid time off in an attempt to bolster Hong Kong’s vaccination programme.