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Managers mull layoffs

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 3, 2009) - The tourism business has taken a dip and most of it is because of adverse publicity about the state of tourism following the recent floods, says Fiji Islands Hotels Association president Dixon Seeto.

"We are experiencing quite a chop in business after the adverse publicity and incorrect information on the state of tourism after the floods."

Seeto said "any increase in cost will be affecting operations and businesses in total. For hoteliers, we are all for just wages but increment should be based on productivity."

"We have had discussions about pay increases with our respective unions over three years and with the new minimum wage guidelines, we will see how the situation will turn out."

According to Seeto, the state of the hotel business is a concern to them right now.

"The global financial situation is not alone to blame, our traditional partners Australia and New Zealand have been given the wrong idea on how the situation in Fiji is after the floods. But as we are talking, all major stakeholders in the industry, the government included will be embarking on a huge campaign to these two countries with the hope of getting the numbers back up."

"… is common practice for hotels all over the world to cut back on staff numbers and hours when there is a low season, it is something that all hoteliers do. This is done to ensure that there are jobs available in the future."

According to the new wage guidelines, the industry will have a minimum wage guideline for workers. In the old guideline issued in 2006, a student trainee is paid FJ$1.73 [US$0.74] an hour while the starting rate for other workers vary between FJ$2.15 to FJ$2.27, which from yesterday will increase between 20 cents to 50 cents.

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