Coronavirus: SkyCity makes 200 staff redundant, 700 asked to take pay cuts

SkyCity is the latest New Zealand business forced to take drastic cost-cutting measures amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Friday, 200 staff were made redundant and many others asked to take pay cuts. 

SkyCity is taking a revenue hit of $90 million per month, and its staff are paying the price.

"We're looking at 200 redundancies at the minute, and maybe more to come," United Union organiser Joe Carolan said.

The business relies heavily on international tourism, and its restaurants, hotels and casinos have been hit hard by the lockdown. In addition to the redundancies, 700 staff have been asked to take a pay cut.

On Friday afternoon, the Government announced further help for struggling businesses and the Finance Minister issued a plea.

"Hold on to your people," Grant Robertson told reporters. "Give them the wage subsidy if you need to. Don't make rash decisions during this time, and have a plan for coming out the other side."

From Friday, the Government will give a safe harbour to businesses facing insolvency issues, allow a "debt hibernation" until normal trading resumes, and allow the use of electronic signatures on official documents. 

Robertson hopes the new measures will give directors of companies on the brink of collapse the confidence to trade through the storm, because they have been given a reprieve from the personal liability usually expected of them.

SkyCity chief executive Graeme Stephens said the company is doing all it can to survive.

"We all believe that the virus will ultimately pass and that we can then start to return to 'normality'. None of us, however, know what 'normal' will look like, or when it will happen - but it is reasonable to assume that it will take some time."