GO Rentals is restructuring 80 of its workers as the downturn and impending lockdown brings tourism to a standstill.
The national operator, which turned 20 last year, employed about 150 staff in six depots across the country.
The remaining staff would stay on the books for now as the company explored the Government’s new expanded support scheme, said managing director James Dalglish.
“We’re working through the rest of our business continuity plan and the rest of our people plan as to where to from here,” said Dalglish.
Dalglish said the Government’s move to lift the $150,000 cap on its wage subsidy scheme was “another step in the right direction”.
“The Government should be commended for its support of smaller businesses and now we have got some respite for larger players,” he said.
“With the cap removed we’ll have the ability to support more of our workforce but with or without a cap, if you’ve lost 90% of your volume, and now 100% – because I don’t think we’ll be operating past Wednesday at this stage – how do you justify keeping people on when you’ve got no idea what the future looks like and no idea how long we’ll be in lockdown for? It’s just too uncertain.”
Despite the effect the lockdown would have on his business, Dalglish said it was the right decision.
“We have to try and get ahead of this because that will give us a greater chance of recovering sooner. The sooner we get on top of this, the sooner we can be back in the game.”
Les Morgan, chief operating officer at Sudima Hotels, said the expanded Government support was welcome.
“Although it won’t be able to save all jobs from all hotels, it will certainly make a difference to [jobs] that were probably marginal,” he said.
“We were potentially reducing our workforce by 70%, that may well be 40% to 50% now. It will make a difference, it will definitely save jobs.”
The hotel group employed 550 people, which meant more than 250 jobs could still go in the coming weeks.
However, lifting the wage subsidy cap brought the company two or three days “to take stock because things are changing every hour”, said Morgan.
“It gives us a little bit of breathing space to have a look at where we are. So, it’s welcome and it’s necessary.”
2 Apr 2020 Banks resistant to lend to tourism – TIA