Laguna Phuket returns to normal

13 Feb 2009

Hotels have returned to normal operations at the Laguna Phuket complex in Thailand after a three-day wildcat strike caused major disruption.

The protests by an estimated 150 hotel workers had blockaded entrance roads to the Laguna complex, which includes six luxury properties, including major brands such  as Banyan Tree, Sheraton Grande and Dusit Thani.

Although none of the hotels was closed during the protests, according to Laguna Phuket management, a number of arriving and in-house guests were relocated to other hotels on the island to prevent further disruption to their holidays.

The protests began on Thursday 5 February after several Laguna Phuket hotel unions rejected the year-end bonus equivalent to two weeks’ pay awarded to employees.The unions were seeking four-weeks’ bonus pay plus a salary increase.

The award of a two-week bonus by the company was blamed by the management on the downturn in the tourism industry in Phuket and Thailand in the second half of 2008 following the closures of the Phuket and Bangkok airports by anti-government protesters, as well as the general global economic downturn.

Natasha Eldred, assistant director of marketing communications, Laguna Phuket, said: “We usually receive a bonus depending on the performance of the company and current business climate. The company‚Äôs decision to not give a larger bonus and no pay rise was a prudent decision made knowing that the world is going into very tough times.”

Late last year the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) revised its forecasts on visitor arrivals for 2009 to 16 million. This represents a projected growth of 3.3 percent. Earlier the TAT had suggested that it was expecting 10 percent growth.

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Kenny Coyle

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