SV leader Audun Lysbakken thinks it is incredible if the government does not include a downsizing ban in its new support scheme. He fears that it will lead to more loose work in the hotel industry.
Last week, the government announced that it will provide a new compensation scheme for tourism of up to one billion kroner. The support scheme will help companies that have had a large drop in turnover during the corona pandemic and will apply throughout the year. The government is currently working on the details of the new crisis package.
– It is good with a new support scheme, but it is unbelievable whether the government will continue to distribute money to hotels and others in the tourism industry, without making demands for zero redundancies, says SV leader Audun Lysbakken to E24.
He believes that a requirement that the companies that receive support cannot lay off employees during the period is a reasonable requirement and would mean that “the scheme benefited workers”.
The government will provide a new compensation scheme for tourism of up to NOK 1 billion
Fear more loose work
The SV leader fears after talks with the unions that downsizing could lead to more people being associated with hotels as extra helpers or on-call substitutes in the future.
– The corona crisis must not be used as a lever to create more loose work, says Lysbakken.
Merethe Solberg is the leader of Fellesforbundet department 10, which organizes employees in, among other things, the hotel industry. She is afraid that the hotels will terminate them with permanent positions and then in the future use extra helpers without a stated percentage of positions in the contract.
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– Corona will be a gift package for companies that want to reduce staffing and rather take in people for extra help later, says Solberg.
HR manager Karin Sjögren in Nordic Choice Hotels says the hotel chain is concerned with retaining as large a proportion of permanent employees as possible. The hotel chain has previously informed E24 that before the corona pandemic, around a third of the employees were extra helpers.
– I think it is premature to conclude that downsizing made during the corona crisis will lead to increased use of on-call substitutes, says Sjögren.
– Contrary to regulations
Nordic Choice has not announced downsizing, and says they worked hard to extend the redundancy scheme this summer to avoid downsizing.
– At the same time, we must comply with the redundancy regulations, which means that if we see that there is a permanent drop-out of the need for labor in certain areas, then the objective reason for redundancy also falls away, says Sjögren.
– This means that the proposal is contrary to current regulations, says the HR manager with reference to the requirement SV will include in the crisis package.
Sjögren says Nordic Choice relates to the regulations for downsizing.
“Unfortunately, there are some positions we see disappearing in the long term, which means that we can not maintain redundancies for those concerned,” says the HR manager.
Scandic has already announced that they will downsize 1,000 man-years, but revised the number so that 300 of these will be laid off instead, the hotel chain informed E24 in August.
– We are in the middle of the downsizing process now, and will during the autumn have reduced our staffing by about 700 man-years, says HR director Elin Ekrol in Scandic Hotels.
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Thon Hotels has also announced that there will be redundancies, but has not said how many may be affected. The hotel chain has not responded to E24’s inquiries about SV’s proposal.
Need the flexibility
Previously, Scandic Hotels also informed E24 that around a third of their normal workforce is extra helpers and seasonal helpers.
– The basic staff is smaller than it really should be, says Solberg in Fellesforbundet.
The hotel chain Scandic does not recognize itself in this.
– Our industry will always have large variations, both in season and from day to day and week to week. The need for extra helpers, seasonal helpers and summer helpers will also be present in the future, says Ekrol.
Lysbakken believes that companies can have some flexibility, but that summons should not be a way to cover up continuous needs and be normal. This deprives many employees of security and makes it more difficult, for example, to get a mortgage, the SV leader believes.
– We will have temporary work for temporary needs, but the rule will be as many permanent employees as possible, says Lysbakken.
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Has not determined the scheme
The Ministry of Trade and Industry states in an e-mail to E24 that the government will establish a new compensation scheme, but that the conditions for this for the tourism industry have not yet been determined.
– The Minister of Trade and Industry is in dialogue with the parties in working life about this, with a view to the scheme being designed so that it hits as best as possible, writes communications manager in the ministry Martine Røiseland.
– The government will return to the Storting with a more detailed sketch of the scheme when this is ready, she states.