Economy

Intrepid Travel asks staff to take a 10% pay cut to prevent redundancies

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Adventure travel company Intrepid Travel has asked staff to take a voluntary 10% pay cut in a bid to head off the need for redundancies as the travel sector slows.

Adventure travel company Intrepid Travel has asked staff to take a voluntary 10% pay cut in a bid to head off the need for redundancies as the travel sector slows.

While the company enjoyed strong growth in recent times – it ranked 40th on SmartCompany’s Smart50 awards with revenue growth of 30.2% to $115.3 million in 2007-08 – the looming slowdown in the travel sector has forced the company to take pre-emptive action.

This morning the Victoria Tourism Industry Council released data showing conditions in the sector declined substantially in the last three months. Many on SmartCompany’s industry growth list for tourism are also bracing for revenue to fall by up to 30% in the early part of 2009.

Intrepid’s chief executive and co-founder Darrell Wade told ABC News the pay cuts are preferable to job losses.

“I’d prefer to take a more lateral view of things rather than the traditional slash and burn and make everyone redundant. There’s got to be a better way.”

More than half of the workforce has already agreed to the pay cut.

It is not the first time Intrepid has used this strategy. When the SARS epidemic stopped the travel industry in its tracks in 2003, staff were also asked to take a pay cut to prevent redundancies.

The company later fulfilled its promise to pay back the lost pay – with interest.

Intrepid is also looking for opportunities from the downturn. It recently announced a 15% discount for customers who have been made redundant, after staff noted a number of inquiries from travellers who had just been laid off.

“This offer is aimed at the sort of people we’ve seen coming into our stores – those who don’t have financial responsibilities and who believe that redundancy could be a good thing for them, Wade says.

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