A three-star hotel is threatening to slash employees' wages by as much as 20 per cent unless they encourage friends and relatives to spend money there. The Empire Hotel in Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, this week asked its 206 workers to sign new agreements. The agreements meant they had to join a scheme which would punish them if they did not meet earnings and cost-cutting targets as well as reward them for achieving the company-set goals. Under the plan, staff would be divided into teams. If a team performed poorly, all members faced salary cuts, said hotel spokeswoman Irene Cheung. The beverage servers' team, for example, would be encouraged to sell more drinks at the bar and bring in more customers, including their friends and family, Ms Cheung said. And the housekeeping staff would be asked to cut expenses by switching off lights on unoccupied floors and using as few supplies as possible, she added. Workers said the plan was unfair and put too much pressure on them. 'There's not much we can cut. The ladies who work in the lavatories will put out smaller rolls of toilet paper, I guess,' said one worker. Another said the targets were unrealistic. 'They want the restaurant department to earn a lot more money. We can't reach their requirements. We're bound to have our wages cut,' she said. Restaurant staff already encouraged friends to eat there, but their friends did not earn enough to eat at a hotel, a worker said. Ms Cheung said the scheme was meant to prevent lay-offs. 'We're not breaking even because of the tourism slump. We just want all the staff to be aware we have to minimise costs,' she said. She added a team could earn a bonus of up to 20 per cent. If team members brought in customers, for instance, the money spent by the customers would be factored into the team's performance. But workers interviewed said they did not plan to sign the letter. 'If we agree to the pay cuts, there's still no guarantee that they will employ us until retirement,' she said. 'Anyway, we're expecting to be sacked anytime whether we sign or not.' Although room occupancy rate remained about the same as last year at 80 per cent, the hotel had been forced to reduce room prices by 40 to 50 per cent from last year, Ms Cheung said.