News Coronavirus Casino group adds to job woes, standing down 90% of workers

Casino group adds to job woes, standing down 90% of workers

star entertainment workers coronavirus
The Star Entertainment Group has stood down 90 per cent of its workers as coronavirus restrictions widen. Photo: Getty
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The Star Entertainment Group is the latest listed company to stand down the bulk of its workforce with 8100 workers suspended following the closure of its food, beverage, conferencing, and gaming facilities.

The company, which operates casinos in Sydney, Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, said on Wednesday its operations had been severely curtailed following government-imposed bans on gatherings and non-essential services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The restrictions meant a temporary stand down of 90 per cent of its staff.

“The Star has taken a very difficult, but necessary, decision in relation to its workforce … these stand-downs include senior management,” the company said.

The Star has provided two weeks of paid pandemic leave and employees will be able to access accrued annual and long service leave entitlements.

Hotel accommodation services remain open in a reduced capacity.

The company said it would reveal further details in coming days about cuts to fees and salaries of board members and senior management.

Crown Casino, which employs nearly 19,000 people in Victoria and Western Australia, lost its special exemption to Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions on Sunday.

It has shut down its gaming activities, restaurants and bars and conference facilities in Victoria and WA but is yet to make an announcement on the future of its workers.

“COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for Crown and many others in Australia,” Crown chief executive Ken Barton told the Seven Network on Monday.

On Tuesday, gaming business Federal Group – Tasmania’s largest private sector employer – told the ABC it would not have jobs for about 1500 of its 1930 workers in the state because of the restrictions on hotels and casinos introduced to slow the virus’s spread.

Spokesman Daniel Hanna described the challenges facing the company as the worst since World War II and conceded the scale of the stand-downs was “shocking”.

“The people affected will live in every community in our state,” Mr Hanna said.

“We want to keep a connection with those people and hopefully when this crisis is over … those people are going to be part of our future, help our industry and our state to rebuild itself.”

Also on Wednesday, troubled airline Virgin Australia stood down about 8000 of its 10,000 workers until at least the end of May. It has further slashed domestic flight capacity – including grounding its budget arm Tigerair entirely – as the coronavirus border restrictions widen.

Mosaic brands – the owner of Noni B, Rivers and Katies – also said it would stand down 6800 staff across 1300 or so outlets from Thursday.

Qantas has already suspended 20,000 of its 30,000 workforce, travel firm Helloworld has announced it will sack 275 people across its global network and stand down another 1300 workers.

Michael Hill jewellers has indefinitely shut its 300 stores.

Hospitality groups such as Justin Hemmes’ Merrivale empire have also suspended thousands of employees.

Westpac forecasts there will be over 814,000 job losses, leading to an 11 per cent unemployment rate by June.

-with AAP