Covid lockdown: At McDonald’s, Domino’s sellers, staff get paid in slices now

New Delhi: India’s largest finedine and quick service restaurant chains have deferred the payment of 20% to 40% of salaries for April for mid-to senior employees, when outlets were completely shut through the month. “There is absolutely no income coming our way due to the Covid-induced lockdown for over a […]

New Delhi: India’s largest finedine and quick service restaurant chains have deferred the payment of 20% to 40% of salaries for April for mid-to senior employees, when outlets were completely shut through the month.

“There is absolutely no income coming our way due to the Covid-induced lockdown for over a month. As a result, most companies are facing the problem of paying the employee salaries in full for the month of April,” said National Restaurant Association of India president Anurag Katriar.

He said uncertainty over when the lockdown will end isn’t helping restaurants manage their meagre cash reserves. The nationwide restrictions started on March 25 and are due to be lifted on May 3.

A spokesperson of Westlife Development subsidiary Hardcastle Restaurants, which operates over 300 McDonald’s restaurants in west and south India, said, “Through the current crisis, our priority has been to safeguard the jobs of our 10,000-strong work force and to give them their full salaries. There have been multiple discussions around how to minimise the impact of the current crisis, but no final decision has been taken yet.”

Email queries sent to Domino’s Pizza operator Jubilant FoodWorks, which operates over a thousand outlets, remained unanswered till press time.

Officials at six large fine-dining and quick service restaurant chains confirmed the matter on condition of anonymity, citing confidentiality.

“It is highly unlikely that we can pay full salaries since our sector is most impacted. Other sectors like packaged goods have at least sold online and foods are selling through kiranas as well,” an official at one of India’s largest restaurant chains said.

The Rs 4.2 lakh crore restaurant sector employs over seven million people and is staring at store closures and sweeping job losses as the lockdown has led to the shutdown of malls and restaurants across the country.

“Deferring salaries has nothing to do with the intentions; it’s due to our lack of ability and resources to do so,” Katriar said.

Many companies have raised money or taken loans for employees. “It is time for the government to come up with an unemployment pay cover by using cash reserves of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation and unclaimed amounts of provident funds. We will otherwise be in a more precarious situation next month and many companies may not be able to pay anything at all,” Katriar said.

The sector has made multiple representations to government authorities for aid.

Source Article

Lois C. Ferrara

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