TCC Group, the conglomerate owned by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, will shut down Imperial Queen's Park Hotel for renovation and ask nearly 800 staff to leave.
Previously it had said it would keep all of its staff on at full pay during the renovation.
According to several employees at the hotel, work is scheduled to begin in October. The property is set to resume operating in 2016-17 under a new management company, probably Marriott Hotel Group.
Last month TCC issued an internal memo on the change, followed by a letter asking all workers – about 770-800 – to leave the hotel from July 15 to September 30 ahead of the renovation work.
All staff will receive compensation varying according to seniority and salary.
Hotel representatives said staff with 30 years of experience were the first target. They were asked to go on vacation leave on July 15 but will still draw pay until September.
The second target of 20-year staff will be given a similar option next month and the third group – all the rest – is set to wave goodbye by the end of September.
All staff will received 16 times current monthly pay, of which 10 months’ worth will come from TCC under the employment law, two months from the hotel and four months directly from Charoen.
“TCC Group officers said they would spend about Bt200 million for the hotel closure,” a hotel employee said.
According to hotel staff, TCC had spread the news that it would continue employing all staff and would also pay full salaries during the two-year closure. TCC has changed its plan and asked staff to leave the hotel instead, they said.
Asked why they do not to stay and fight this move, many staff said they wished to go and might return in the future, as TCC has said it will open the opportunity for all staff to rejoin the hotel when it is reopened.
However, besides the basic 16 months, some staff have asked TCC and the hotel for additional compensation of one to seven months depending on length of service.
They also urged the hotel to raise the minimum wage to Bt15,000 a month before paying compensation and let all staff stay on until the end of September. However, management has remained silent on these extra demands.
Some long-stay guests have been told to move out to recommended properties with a rental refund.
The hotel is reportedly averaging an occupancy rate of 68 per cent this month. Key markets are foreign group tours from countries such as Japan, airline crews and local travellers.
The hotel was built 23 years ago by Akorn Huntrakul and sold to Charoen about 18 years ago. It is claimed to be the biggest in Bangkok with more than 11,200 rooms.
TCC group has so far contracted Starwood Group to manage its six hotels, with the latest in Koh Samui, rebranded from Imperial Samui Beach Resort to Sheraton Samui.