The huge hotel-entertainment conglomerate Sun International, who owns popular resorts like Sun City and other casinos and resorts all over South Africa, made a gamble which led to the loss of thousands of jobs.
Looking to expand internationally in 2008, it ventured to Chile and started investing all over South America. Thereafter the company began to make a string of bad investments in the pursuit of profits. After an orgy of mergers, take-overs and buying casinos and resorts, the new Sun Dream SA became one of the biggest entertainment companies in South America.
But, appetite comes with eating. Despite signs, as early as 2014, that the returns would not be outstanding, Sun International ploughed on with their greedy adventures. In April 2018 it bought Thunderbird Resorts in Peru, and in May that year, it increased its stake in Sun Dreams. In July 2018 Sun Dream SA was struck a blow when its application for casino license was denied, and at the same time, as the other South American casinos started to make significant losses.
Then came the Covid-19 crisis. In August this year Sun International sold 68% of its Sun Dreams SA share to a Chilean company. This came with an announcement that the chain lost 96% of its revenue during the pandemic. Sun international currently employs 9 000 workers all over South Africa and 4 000 in Chile. Now it is planning to retrench 3 300 in total. More than half of the retrenchments in South Africa is at SunCity in North West province, and the rest in Table View, Wild Coast and Sandton. Nearly 1000 jobs are on the line in Chile.
The South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) stated that Sun international is trying to “avoid its failures” by hiding behind the Covid-19 pandemic. This is correct. The failure of the company is as a result of the greed and ineptitude of the bosses at Sun International.
We can clearly see that again it is the workers suffering the most for the gambles of the capitalists. This comes at a time of horrific unemployment, and even worse, during an economic crisis where workers are struggling as a result of the pandemic.
Under capitalism it is not the capitalists, speculators or bankers, who pay; it is rather the workers who must suffer the consequences of the failure of the system. The workers at Sun International join millions of workers which have suffered the consequences of the failure of capitalism. It is time to end this! The unions need to fight back against these attacks on the working class. It is time to organise workers in all sectors to prevent the carnage we are witnessing. But ultimately we need to organise politically, to take the fight to the system as a whole. Only a socialist revolution will end the nightmare of capitalist exploitation!