Resorts World Sentosa, one of the largest tourist attractions in Singapore and also one of the city-state's largest private sector employers, confirmed on July 15 that it is carrying out layoffs as part of cost-cutting measures. While the resort did not clarify how many employees would be affected, one previous retrenchment exercise in 2016 saw it lay off around 400 workers from its casino operations following a business slump. RWS has a total of approximately 12,500 employees across its casino, hotel, theme park, and other attractions.
According to a statement from RWS, the upcoming layoffs are a one-off exercise and come after various other cost-cutting measures including reducing the salaries of management by up to 30 percent. The resort is working with unions and government agencies to help the affected employees find new jobs, and has stated that at least two to three job opportunities have been identified for each employee.
The Attractions, Resorts and Entertainment Union has said that it was notified well in advance of the layoffs and that RWS had taken reasonable steps to fulfil its obligations to employees.
RWS's layoffs come less than a month after the Singapore government relaxed its circuit breaker measures, allowing the majority of retail, F&B, and entertainment activities to resume with social distancing restrictions. However, they are not entirely unexpected. Last year, RWS and its competitor Marina Bay Sands had invested extensively in expanding their business, including going on a hiring spree: RWS had added an estimated 2,800 jobs. Now, with borders closed around the world and international tourism at a near standstill, the sustainabilityof those investments, let alone any returns, is in doubt.
Image: Resorts World at Sentosa Pte. Ltd.