Diethelm Travel Thailand has signed an order to release all non-core staff indefinitely from January 2021 until business returns, in a move to give staff legal opportunities to find other jobs while borders remain closed.
According to an internal memo given to staff, that was released on November 16, 2020 and signed by Diethelm’s top executives, all staff will receive a 50 per cent salary in December 2020. After which, from January 2021, all non-core local staff will still get to keep their employment contract with Diethelm, and will be paid a salary of 10,000 baht (US$328) per month, along with health insurance and other applicable benefits.
Stephan Roemer, CEO of Diethelm Travel Group, told TTG Asia that the move frees up the staff to legally seek for other, additional work.
“(Many) staff have asked us if they could accept other jobs legally. We want to give them the legal possibility to accept temporary jobs, and we encourage them (to do so),” he stated.
Releasing the staff in this manner will also allow Diethelm to reduce its cash flow while keeping the employment contract with all staff, as the travel giant is not banking on international tourist arrivals resuming in any substantial capacity before the summer or fall of 2021.
In the internal memo seen by TTG Asia, Christian Stoeckli, general manager of Diethelm Travel (Thailand), wrote: “Unfortunately, there is still no improvement for inbound tourism to Thailand. Our efforts to create new sources of income with products on the local market or other alternatives like our Diethelm online market have not been successful.
“We said goodbye to our last international customer at the beginning of April and since then, we have had almost no income… The new Special Tourists Visa was and is completely useless, the new 60-day visa will only help to a very limited extent. As long as there is still a quarantine and a lot of bureaucracy to be done, the tourists will not return.”
He concluded: “We can only hope for your understanding and support, this is all about securing our jobs in the long run. The companies that survive this global crisis will return as winners.”
During the lull, Diethelm will maintain a very small full-time core team in each of its cities in Asia. Roemer explained: “To have a core team 100 per cent in the office is better than having people working in the office part-time. With this arrangement, we can ensure that the core teams will be better able to adapt when we resume services in full.”
Some Diethelm expats will return home to try and find temporary work, under a no-pay leave, until business resumes.
Concluded Roemer: “We will continue to accept bookings for next year… As soon as business picks up again, hopefully in the summer of 2021 the latest, all of us will be able to return to our regular jobs.”