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Highland hotel sacks 30 EU nationals by letter in wake of coronavirus downturn in trade

By Louise Glen

The letter sent to staff of the Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore.
The letter sent to staff of the Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore.

THE employers of EU citizens who were sacked by an Aviemore hotel and made instantly homeless have been roundly condemned.

Coylumbridge Aviemore Hotel told staff yesterday that they no longer had jobs, and they had to vacate their staff accommodation with immediate effect.

Britannia Hotels, which owns the Coylumbridge Hotel, delivered the news by letter to staff.

One worker, Alvarito Garcia, posted a copy of the letter online, saying he had nowhere else to go and would have to sleep in a tent in temperatures of -5.

The letter states that the services of staff "are no longer required" and asks them to return all property, before wishing them well in securing new employment.

MP Drew Hendry condemned the way staff had been treated.

"I have offered to help to discuss how a different path can be taken that seeks to support everyone affected fairly and humanely," he said. "If ever there was a time for looking out for others, this is it, even when businesses are rightly concerned."

He continued: "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."

Kate Forbes MSP immediately called for a meeting with Britannia Hotels.

She said: "The decision by Coylumbridge Hotel, Aviemore in my constituency to make staff homeless at the same time as making them redundant is appalling."

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said: "The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) has been in touch with tourism businesses all over Scotland throughout the night regarding the decision Britannia Hotels took yesterday to shed all staff from their jobs and accommodation in Aviemore by way of letter and its decision to close three hotels.

"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.

"This is the most difficult time that Scotland's tourism industry will ever face; the crisis has hit every business, family and community. We have seen nothing but compassion and respect across the sector, in the most dire of circumstances, which is testament to the spirit and strength of the people who work in Scottish tourism.

"We applaud the swift actions of Macdonald Hotels to offer jobs and accommodation to all of those affected by the closure of Britannia Hotels in Aviemore.

"We are hopeful that an announcement will be made within the next 24 hours to offer some comfort and reassurance to those who are losing their jobs on an hourly basis across all sectors."

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