More job losses expected in coming months

Vanuatu’s Department of Labour says it is concerned about continuing job losses in the COVID-19 impacted tourism industry.

The Commissioner of Labour, Murielle Metsan Meltenoven, says the department is continuing to receive notices of redundancies from tourism businesses and with the ongoing crisis and uncertainty about the opening of borders it expects Vanuatu’s tourism sector will shed more staff.

She expressed concern over the workers who will be affected by the expected job losses and the population of Vanuatu as a whole.

Commissioner Metsan called for businesses to work closely with the Vanuatu Government to provide support to laid-off workers and their families.

“There has been a directive to businesses not to use COVID as an excuse to lay off staff, and only businesses who are badly affected by the COVID restrictions, such as the tourism sector which is obviously suffering, [may have to lay off staff],” she said.

The Government already decided in July to redirect its Employment Stabilization Package to the agriculture production sector and to give low interest loans to businesses to sustain their operations throughout the ongoing economic crisis. The package was introduced to buffer workers from the impacts of the COVID crisis and Cyclone Harold.

But the Commissioner of Labour says that the Government is expecting businesses who have been in the country for many years and who have been making a lot of income here, to continue to support their workers in coming months.

“Businesses that have been operating in Vanuatu for more than ten years, and are not as COVID-impacted are still expected to support their staff,” Commissioner Metsan said.

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