David O’Brien

chairman: David O’Brien

MASSY Motors, the largest dealer of new cars in T&T, yesterday announced it has furloughed 68 employees, it will rotate an additional 35 members of staff one-day on and one-day off and ten executives will have their salaries cut by 20 per cent.

The expenditure-reduction measures, which will impact 113 employees in total, took effect from June 1 and are due for last three months, Massy Motors chairman, David O’Brien told the Express yesterday.

Massy Motors is part of the Massy Group, the country’s largest conglomerate by revenue.

O’Brien said although the country’s car dealers, like other aspects of retail trade, were given the green light to resume business on June 1 after the Covid-19 lockdown, the company decided to take the measures because of the difficulty of predicting when T&T’s new car market would get back to pre-Covid-19 levels.

The number of new cars sold in T&T before the Covid-19 pandemic averaged between 1,000 and 1,200 per month, O’Brien said.

As a non-essential service, Massy Motors continued to pay its 460 employees 100 per cent of their compensation, although it did not sell any cars during the months of April and May, the company executive said.

Asked why the company waited until the resumption of retail business to take the employee decisions, O’Brien said: “Once the business became operational, we realised we did not need 460 people to run a business that was likely to see reduced business.”

Massy Motors has taken other steps to reduce its expenditure by closing down its Chaguanas showroom at the Mid-Centre Mall and by moving out of a rented property in San Fernando.

‘Love and care’

The 68 employees who have been temporarily laid off will continue to receive their full benefits—comprising health insurance, pension, group life and membership in the Employee Share Ownership Plan—but will not receive their salary for the three-month period.

He said, however, that furloughed (leave of absence /temporary release) employees will receive an advance of 50 per cent of their salary as a loan “on favourable terms to be decided”.

He said the 35 employees who have been placed on rotation are mostly support staff who will receive about 50 per cent of their salaries by working every other day.

These staff arrangements are subject to change if the new car market improves within the three-month period.

O’Brien said among the first employees the company decided to furlough were those associated with its short-term rental of cars. Those were impacted because of the complete shutdown of the country’s airports to international and national passengers in late March.

Before the Covid-19 lockdown, Massy Motors’ short-term car rentals had 325 vehicles. That is now down to 60 cars with 260 units being moved to the company’s used-car lot.

O’Brien pointed out all of the 460 employees of Massy Motors will be impacted by the measures, even the 347 who will continue to receive their full pay.

“We are asking those who are not affected to work as hard as they can to make the company viable. They are being asked to carry a heavy load.”

O’Brien said in taking the decisions to cut the expenditure of Massy Motors, the company was “acting within the value of the Massy Group, which include responsibility, love and care”.

Massy Motors is part of the Massy Group, which saw its revenue increase by 2.6 per cent to $6.3 billion for the six months ended March 31, 2020. The group’s after-tax profits declined by 8.4 per cent to $262.7 million.

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