Coronavirus: 1,000 Vox Cinema and Ski Dubai staff redeployed to work in supermarkets

Majid Al Futtaim said workers would be reskilled instead of put at risk of job losses

More than 1,000 employees from one of the country’s biggest companies have been retrained to work in supermarkets.

Majid Al Futtaim redeployed its workers from Vox Cinemas, Magic Planet, Little Explorers and Ski Dubai to work in local branches of Carrefour.

The move came after entertainment attractions and retail stores were told to close for two weeks as part of the coronavirus response - and supermarkets were inundated with shoppers.

The company runs those four businesses along with Mall of the Emirates, City Centre malls and the local franchise of Carrefour.

"I am extremely proud of each one of them as they have shown a relentless desire to support their colleagues across the company - and ensure our customers continue to have access to essential items," said Alain Bejjani, chief executive officer at Majid Al Futtaim.

“While our redeployment efforts come during unprecedented times, a recent World Economic Forum report suggested that by 2022, 54 per cent of the total workforce in an organisation will require significant reskilling and upskilling.

“The current situation has accelerated the need for employees to stay competitive and will require companies to relook at how they utilise their talent.”

Retrained staff will also perform new roles in warehouses, distribution centres, and complete online orders.

“I volunteered to join the programme, like many of my colleagues,” said Nafie Hamed Ibrahim Ali, a customer service officer at Vox Cinemas who has worked for the company for nine years.

“It is a great opportunity for me, and I am proud that I can continue to be of service during such a challenging time.

“I am really looking forward to learning new skills, whilst supporting the wider business and catering to customers’ needs – I feel a part of something much bigger than myself.”

The locking down of cities and closure of shops, bars, restaurants and attractions is forecast to lead to tens of millions of jobs losses.

Aviation, tourism, hospitality and film and theatre are among the industries expected to be badly hit.

From Wednesday, Marcy 25, only malls supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open, while restaurants and food outlets can only offer home delivery.