Tourism board ‘speechless’ as Scottish hotel fires and evicts staff

Eloise Hanson Eloise Hanson Uploaded 20 March 2020

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Scotland: Coylumbridge Hotel near Aviemore, run by the Britannia Hotels group, has been largely criticised and condemned for its decision to sack members of staff with immediate leave.

The letter, sent to a number of employees and which is circulating on social media, reads: “Taking the latest government advice, this letter is to confirm that with effect from 19th March 2020 your employment has been terminated as your services are no longer required.”

“Your final payslip will include all hours worked up to and including your final day, together with any accrued holidays not already taken and one week’s pay in lieu of notice.”

“Please understand that if you have taken more holidays this year than you had currently built up an allowance for, then this amount will be deducted from your final salary, as per the terms and conditions of your contract of employment.”

“You are asked to vacate the hotel accommodation immediately, returning any company property… before leaving the hotel.”

Chief executive of Scottish Tourism Alliance, Marc Crothall, said: “This is not reflective of the approach of any business we know, or our members and all have come out to condemn the deplorable actions of this company. Aside from the approach, the letter sent to employees lacked any compassion or humanity in tone; it was cold, brutal and shocking. We have never encountered anything like this.”

Kate Forbes, finance secretary, tweeted: “The decision by Coylumbridge Hotel, Aviemore in my constituency to make staff homeless at the same time as making them redundant is appalling.”

She continued: “It’s a tough time for everybody, that’s why we’ve tried to help the hospitality industry, so it’s disappointing to see what appears to be the heartless treatment of staff.”

Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, tweeted: “It is not acceptable. It is a worrying time for the hotel trade and urgent support is needed, but everyone is in this emergency together. This fails even the most basic test of how to treat people. I have written asking them to rescind these letters.”

Macdonald Hotels Aviemore, a nearby resort in the Scottish Highlands, has issued a statement replying to the letter stating: “We immediately contacted the management [at Coylumbridge Hotel] to offer their employees access to our staff accommodation… to ensure they wouldn’t be put out on the street. Any workers from Coylumbridge Hotel who require accommodation should get in touch with Macdonald Aviemore Resort and we’ll be pleased to help them.”

Britannia sent out a statement this morning which said: "With regards to the current situation regarding staff at our Coylumbridge hotel and being asked to vacate their staff accommodation. Unfortunately, the communication sent to these employees was an administrative error. All affected employees are being immediately contacted. We apologise for any upset caused."

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