The low tourist season at Kenya’s coast has seen more than 10,000 workers sent home following the closure of some hotels. At least 40 per cent of hotels across the region have either closed or scaled down operations in the wake of the low season which began on April 1st.
Hotels in Malindi and Watamu are the worst hit after chartered airlines from Italy stopped flights to Mombasa last Saturday owing to low passenger numbers.
Eighty per cent of hotels in Kilifi County have been closed, said Philemon Mwavala, the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Malindi and Watamu branch vice-chairman.
On Thursday, the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA) North Coast branch secretary Michael Yaa said over 5,000 workers in Malindi and Watamu had been laid-off following the closure of hotels last week. Of those sent home, more than 3,000 are permanent staff and 2,500 on contract, he said.
Mr Yaa said more workers could lose jobs as more other hotels close by end this month. He said it was unfair for employers to send permanent staff home on unpaid leave to mid-July when the hotels re-open for the high season. The Kenyan labourlaws requiresemployersto pay permanent workers leave allowance in case they are told to go home when business is low.