COVID-19 | NATION

COVID-19: Laid-Off Tourism Workers Try To Survive

Workers from the tourism sector in Nadi are grateful for immediate assistance from the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) after their job losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For Repeka
04 Apr 2020 12:40
COVID-19: Laid-Off Tourism Workers Try To Survive
Sereima Tuirara (right), a former food and beverage staff member in the tourism industry. Photo: Mereleki Nai

Workers from the tourism sector in Nadi are grateful for immediate assistance from the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) after their job losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Repeka Levu, a front office staff member at a resort in Nadi, she said getting laid off work was a shocker for many.

Ms Levu is among the many workers in the industry who have been made redundant following the global crisis.

She said while she was grateful to the FNPF assistance, she decided not to withdraw any money because she wanted to accumulate savings for her future.

“Getting laid off from work or shortened hours is something that we never thought could happen because the work we do is what we rely on to put food on the table,” she said.

“We have kids to feed. For me, I am hoping that everything gets better soon,” Ms Levu said.

Khrishnil Prasad, who works for a marketing team in a five star resort, said with all the bills that need to be paid and people who depended on him, he is wondering what would happen in the next two months.

“I have a dependent mother who stays with me. Her medical bills and the running of day-to-day expenses are on me. Rent is $650 per month and bills are almost $70. I may survive for one month, but what happens on the 1st of May?” he asked.

“I think maybe the Government can work on giving relief vouchers to industry workers, especially those workers who have children and dependents.”

Sitiveni Namata, a chef at a resort in the Mamanuca group said, even though they had been affected, having a farm was the best thing his family would rely on.

He said the FNPF contribution helps assist his five children and he is thankful that his wife is still working to help support the family.

A food and beverage staff member, Sereima Tuirara now stays at home because the restaurant she worked at in Denarau Island has closed.

She said she had enough assistance from the parent company she works for.

“We were not really affected by this because we were assisted in the COVID-19 supplementary budget from the Government concerning suspended bills and Fiji National Provident Fund assistance,” Ms Tuirara added.

Ms Tuirara said she had decided not to withdraw her FNPF, but is worried about the duration of being without a job.

“For me personally, what was really worrying was that being laid off from work, how long it is going to take. We don’t know if it may be for four months or beyond. The amount of FNPF given might not satisfy a big family for a long period of time.

“I decided not to withdraw my FNPF because I think of my future. I think FNPF withdrawal has to be on standby if this crisis would take months or a year. We are thankful to the Government for allowing us to partially withdraw our FNPF and also with suspended bills and house rents. That unloads half of our problem.”

Denarau Water Sports staff, Vimal Chand said the FNPF assistance provided by the new budget would really help people, especially those in the tourism industry.

“I think that FNPF is going to help us a lot because often people say it’s our money, yeah, it is your money, but at the end of the day we will know when it is a good time to release the money,” Mr Chand added. Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: mereleki.nai@fijisun.com.fj

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