Singapore's Resorts World, a major employer, axes jobs as virus batters tourism

Resorts World, one of Singapore's biggest employers, cuts staff due to Covid-19

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SINGAPORE (July 15): Resorts World Sentosa, one of Singapore's biggest private-sector employers, said today it was laying off staff to cut costs as the Covid-19 pandemic batters the city state's tourism industry.

The company, owned by Genting Singapore Ltd, did not disclose how many jobs would be lost, but the local The Straits Times newspaper said the cuts were "significant".

A spokesperson for Resorts World Sentosa said the firm had over 7,000 full-time employees at the end of 2019, but declined to comment on its current employment level. The Genting Singapore website says Resorts World Sentosa is one of Singapore's largest employers.

Resorts World Sentosa's facilities, spread over 49ha, encompass a hotel, a casino, and a Universal Studios theme park among other attractions.

"We have made the difficult decision to implement a one-off workforce rationalisation," it said in a statement.

A handful of staff trudging past mostly quiet restaurants outside the entrance to the casino today afternoon told Reuters they had been called in to meet with the human resources department.

Singapore's economy plunged into recession in the second quarter, shrinking a record 41% from the previous quarter, data showed yesterday, putting it on track for its deepest slump ever.

The tourism industry, which contributes to about 4% of the economy, has been one of the worst-affected sectors due to travel restrictions and a lockdown that lasted more than two months to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Across the causeway, casino operator Genting Malaysia Bhd was cutting 3,000 jobs, or about 15% of its workforce, media reported last month. Genting Malaysia did not respond to a request for comment.

Genting Singapore and Genting Malaysia are part of Malaysian conglomerate Genting Bhd.

"Covid-19 pandemic's impact on the tourism industry is unprecedented, immediate, and immense," Singapore's National Trades Union Congress said in a statement on the job cuts.

It added that it was working with Resorts World Sentosa on compensation terms, and would help affected employees with training and finding new jobs.

Just last year the company announced it would invest about S$4.5 billion to expand its tourist attractions in the city state.