x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

GEMS says layoffs are normal adjustments

The recent layoffs and restructuring at Global Education Management Systems (GEMS) were the result of normal yearly adjustments, the company said.

The recent layoffs and restructuring at Global Education Management Systems (GEMS), the country's largest operator of private schools, were the result of normal yearly adjustments, the company said yesterday. Last week it announced layoffs at the GEMS American Academy - Abu Dhabi and the Wellington International School in Dubai, and said it would cease offering secondary classes at Royal Dubai School.

"We are doing what we do every year and adjusting staffing levels," said Richard Forbes, the director of marketing and communications for the company. Forty members of staff lost their jobs, including five teachers, he said. GEMS employs 6,500 people at 25 schools in the Emirates. "Normally we can redeploy staff across the network," Mr Forbes said. "Unfortunately, because of the economic crisis, this has not been possible."

Growth had been slower than expected at some schools but overall enrolment was up by 3,000, he said. "We value all our staff immensely," he said. "We will ensure those affected are treated with respect and dignity. They will be given support and assistance to help them through the transition." Mr Forbes said the cuts would not affect the company's "ability to deliver the education that our students and parents expect".

"All businesses try to adapt to economic conditions. We are like every other good business in making sure we stay on top of the issues at this time," Mr Forbes said. He said secondary students at Royal Dubai will be offered places at other GEMS schools. klewis@thenational.ae