Constellar Holdings, the recent rebrand of SingEx-Sphere Holdings, has announced 21 job losses as it “rightsizes” due to prolonged impact of Covid-19. The redundancies affect 12% of all employees in the Singapore headquarters and come just days before new group CEO Jean-François Quentin takes up his new post.
Events in Singapore have been largely suspended during the pandemic and were only allowed within strict capacity limits and safe events protocol from October 2020, with travel and border restrictions effectively in place.
Constellar reports a 95% drop in physical events held at its managed venue, the Singapore EXPO & MAX Atria.
Constellar said saving jobs had been a priority and that it had implemented cost reduction and a freeze on wages and hiring. In addition to tapping Government support such as the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), the company says it has also focused on job redeployment, retraining and upskilling for hybrid events.
Management has not been immune to the austerity measures, accepting pay cuts of up to 30%.
The company says that “major speed bumps such as new virus variants and varying degrees of global vaccination roll-outs continue to affect market optimism for the events industry. With a skeletal pipeline of events and the Covid-19 situation still unpredictable, it has had to undertake this exercise to preserve financial resources and get ready to rebuild as the economy recovers”. The shedding of posts was an exercise conducted in close consultation with the Singapore Industrial & Services Employees’ Union (SISEU), and with the support of the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), to assist affected employees with advice and counsel in their career transition. Affected and eligible employees will get a retrenchment package based on their length of service.
Constellar says it will also continue to extend medical insurance coverage to these employees until 31 March 2022 or when they find employment, whichever is earlier.
“Like the rest of the events industry, we’re facing the hard truths of huge uncertainty, cautious sentiment, low business volume and continued cost pressures. The rightsizing decision is a deeply difficult one, after considering all options and scenarios,” a spokesperson for Constellar Holdings said.
The spokesperson added: “For a business premised on people and human connection, it is painful to part ways with our colleagues whom we have worked side by side with through good and bad times. We cannot emphasise enough that this is not a reflection of the work of these affected individuals. The company has gone through an extremely challenging year having had to pivot our business towards a new normal. For those who are impacted, we will always be immensely appreciative of their dedication and contribution.”