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Offers come flooding in to help workers sacked by Highland hotel

By Gavin Musgrove

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The Coylumbridge Hotel by Aviemore which was acquired by Britannia Hotels at the end of 2018.
The Coylumbridge Hotel by Aviemore which was acquired by Britannia Hotels at the end of 2018.

GOOD Samaritans have come forward with offers to help 30 hotel workers sacked in the strath and told to vacate their accommodation with just one day's notice.

There has been a huge backlash to Hale-based Britannia Hotels treatment of the staff – many of them from the EU – at the Coylumbridge Hotel near Aviemore.

Some of the hotel employees have said they have no-where to live after being told they have to move out of their hotel accommodation today.

As well as outrage on social media – especially against the backdrop of the Coronavirus outbreak – there have been plenty of offers of help for the beleaguered workers.

Rothiemurchus Lodge at Glenmore has stepped in with an invite of a week's accommodation for free for the affected workers whilst they make more permanent arrangements.

George Gaff, manager of the facility which provides holiday breaks for the Armed Forces personnel and their families, made the generous offer after the hotel's treatment of their staff came to light late last night when one of the sacked workers shared his redundancy letter on social media.

Macdonald Hotels have also stepped in with an offer of accommodation at their resort in Aviemore.

Even local residents are offering to provide temporary homes for the stranded staff.

Jack Whiteman is one of them and said his offer of accommodation would give the workers time to find a new job or make onward travel plans.

Subway on Aviemore's Grampian Road is offering free food and drink for the affected staff.

The budget hotel operator – who acquired the popular one time Hilton hotel in late 2018 – has been slammed by community and business leaders.

Mark Tate, chief executive of the Cairngorms Business Partnerhip, said: "These are very difficult and rapidly changing times for every part of our community.

"People, including businesses, are facing impossible decisions every day.

"The least we can ask is that we treat each other with compassion, respect and honesty.

"This letter from Britannia, who are not CBP members, demonstrated none of that basic humanity.

"The way our community, from the largest businesses, and many CBP members, to folk with a spare room, have responded has shown the true cultural values of Aviemore and the wider area."

Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes said: “The actions taken by Britannia Hotels in my constituency are appalling.

"At a time of national crisis, the hotel is making people homeless at the same time as making them redundant, with only a few hours' notice.

"That is heartless and it left some of my constituents homeless and facing an even more uncertain future.

"This is a difficult time for everybody - but some will choose kindness over cruelty in how they manage the crisis.

"For every Britannia Hotels, there are hundreds of good employers and welcoming communities who will not allow people to be treated like this."

Claire Sangster said on the Aviemore and Spey Valley Forum on social media: "It is refreshing to see local business owners offering help. It warms the heart in dark times."

Robert Peston, political editor of ITV News and host of the weekly political discussion show Peston, picked up on Britannia Hotel's treatment of its workers on his Twitter account, and pointed out the Boris Johnston that this was not what he might when the Prime Minister had urged businesses to stand up for their workers.

Britannia Hotels said in its correspondence titled 'Services no longer required' that it was acting on the latest Government advice.

It states: "You are asked to vacate the hotel accommodation immediately, returning any company property before leaving the hotel.

"I would like to take the opportunity to wish you every success in securing future employment and than you for your time at Britannia Hotels."

Britannia Hotels was trending on Twitter last night as anger grew and spread over their treatment of the 30 hotel workers.

Related article: Highland hotel sacks 30 EU nationals by letter

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