Prior to concluding the National Assembly’s sitting for yesterday, Speaker Roger Mancienne shed some light on the Club Med employment situation over which there has been public outcry over recent days, reading out a letter from the department of employment.

In starting, Speaker Mancienne noted that the department issued the letter to the assembly, after having been contacted by many members of the public who expressed their dissatisfaction at the employment situation at the newly operational hotel, as it would appear that several gainful occupation permits (GOP) have been approved and issued to the organisation, facilitating the recruitment of foreigners over Seychellois.

According to Speaker Mancienne, Club Med, the new hotel on St Anne island, approached the employment department and discussed its recruitment plans over a year ago, in November 2019. According to the letter, Club Med expressed that they would need 417 employees to work at the hotel, which has 294 rooms.

Below is an excerpt of the letter;

At this point, the hotel was advised to start off their efforts, and to recruit Seychellois first. The hotel agreed to engage itself in a recruiting campaign and to promote its posts through; the job fair held on March 4, & 5, 2020, advertisements in print media over a three-day duration in March and June, through the online platform in March, April, May and June, through spots on SBC and Telesesel in March, April, August and September, and through Google and Facebook ads.

The hotel also worked in collaboration with SETS, Job Plus and the department of employment to explore whether there are qualified individuals to recruit. Through this campaign, the hotel received 602 applications from the local market. Following selection, 468 were called for an interview but only 398 turned up for the interview. Of the 398 who were interviewed, 227 were offered employment. The hotel successfully recruited 176 Seychellois employees, who accepted the employment offer given at the time, notably on management level, in domains such as human resources, kitchen, stock keeping, housekeeping, laundry attendants, as well as persons responsible for technical departments. To note, there are departments, such as management and laundry, where many Seychellois have been recruited.

In September 2020, following certain lack on the labour market at that point, following the recruitment campaign, the hotel approached the department of employment to employ foreign employees in 245 posts, for a one-year duration, in domains such as finance, kitchen, and bar, where there was lack, as well as the specialised programme for the animation of the village, a new concept for Seychelles which the hotel is bringing.

The Club Med hotel has a 65 percent quota, which means a total of 271 foreign employees. Presently, it has employed 176 Seychellois, and 157 foreign employees. The Employment Bureau is continuously working with the hotel to recruit more Seychellois employees. Of the 157 foreign employees, it comprises 40 Mauritians and other nationalities.

In January 2020 when the employment department issued the new strategy to join with businesses to publish vacant posts, the department of employment approached the hotel to participate, in order to identify Seychellois for positions that are still open. It is important to note that the hotel is supposed to open in March, and in view of the financial obligations on the part of the business to open its doors as of then, it will not be prudent for the ministry to review the approved posts. It is important to note at this moment that the posts were approved last year, and the employment situation was different to the present time.

Club Med Hotel will also come with a concept that is totally new for Seychelles, whereby it needs to have a certain number of foreigners to transfer skills to our Seychellois, who can in return share their knowledge with Seychellois colleagues when they join the hotel. The one-year approval was granted with the principal aim that the business is able to establish itself, and after this will give opportunities for more Seychellois to join the organisation.

According to the concept of Club Med St Anne, it is not the intention of the hotel to retain these employees in the country for more than one year, but rather that they are sent to other international branches. The Club Med hotel has reassured the employment department that it remains engaged to recruit Seychellois, and it is for that reason that it participated with us in the new strategy to publish the posts conjointly. As long as this is not complete, we will not approve any other applications for expatriates at the hotel.

There will continually be a joint effort between the hotel and the department throughout the year, so expatriates are replaced by Seychellois who are qualified, at that instant when their permit is finished during the year. It is also important to note that the hotel has a commitment to open as of March, and it needs employees to be operational.

The department of employment, in cooperation with organisations such as the Seychelles Hotel and Tourism Association (SHTA) and the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) will continue to work with businesses on the new strategy to place Seychellois in employment, and Seychellois are encouraged to apply when opportunities present themselves, and to keep their word and report for the interview.