Photo credit: Thimphu club

Closure of major entertainment club leaves many unemployed

The news of the closure of a major entertainment club, Thimphu Club, in the capital comes as a surprise to many of its customers, and also leaves 20 employees of the club, mostly women in their 20s, out of a job. 18 of them worked as permanent staff with their salary from the club as their only source of income.

According to a source, the club owner has not provided any rationale reasons for the closing down the club. It was further said that the landlord was not willing to extend the agreement period which was till the end of this month. The landlord has given the Thimphu Club owner a month’s notice to vacate.

The manager of the club said the employees are kept on hold, as the club owner said they have time till the end of the month, and after that a decision could be made.

The manager mentioned that the business has not been doing well in the last four to five months.

He said, “For the last couple of months, not just the Thimphu Club, but most of the clubs and karaoke bars are not doing so well. Many factors could contribute to it, like the lack of regional tourists, as before COVID, Thimphu Club used to have a lot of regional tourists. But now, they are totally not coming.”

He also said that for the last couple of months the Mega Festivals has also attracted most of the people, and the club saw a drastic decrease in the customers. He added, “Last couple of months, there has been too many mega events happening, it was as good as closing the business. Also, there are many new clubs and business opening.”

Further, he said most of their regular customers have left for abroad as part of the migration for better job opportunities.

While most of the employees are waiting till the end of the month to make a decision, a few of the them mentioned that they are planning to go back to the village, as most of them are not from Thimphu. Some of them even said that they are planning to join DeSuung.

The manager shared that the attrition rate is posing as a challenge. “The attrition rate was there, and since it was not a high paying job people keep leaving, coming in and out, especially the new ones, but there are staff who have been with the club for more than 8 years.”

He said the biggest challenge is financing the club due to the sheer number of staff. At one point of time, they even had 30 employees.

“Minimum salary paid was Nu 11,000, with transportation provided. One time dinner and snacks were also provided. Senior staff are paid Nu 12,000 to Nu 15,000. I used to get Nu 20,000 plus depending on the business.”

A dancer shared that he had been working at the club for a year and a half. He said as he likes dancing, he is not sure what other jobs to look for. Luckily, he is staying with his family in the capital.

He said that the employees have formed a group on social media and are planning to perform in programs if the plans go well.

The bartender said till now he has been adjusting hand to mouth with the pay that he used to get from the club, and with the closing of the club he can’t think of any alternatives than to go back to his village.

A female dancer said she is planning to apply for overseas jobs. Meantime, she is hopeful of receiving calls from the Kalapingka Drayang and City Club to join them.

Four more dancers are also planning to apply for overseas jobs even though they do not have high academic qualifications.

One of the female dancers said her house owner has asked her to vacate the house. She said, “I have a 7-month old son to look after and as my husband is unemployed dancing in the club was our only income. If the situation stays the same, I am planning to go back to my village as it is very difficult to survive in the capital. Though others clubs have offered me to come and join them, but I have to look after my son. I don’t think I will be able to manage the time now.”

 Meanwhile, the Thimphu Club owner said he is going to talk with the landlord for a possible rental lease extension.

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