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Sacked Coylumbridge Hotel worker with £20 in his pocket pleads for new job

By Louise Glen

Normunds Varslavans.
Normunds Varslavans.

A HOTEL worker given just hours to leave his accommodation after being made redundant is pleading for a job anywhere in the Highlands.

Normunds Varslavans (36), nicknamed Norka by friends, was employed by the Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore until Thursday lunchtime when he was handed a letter telling him his services were no longer required.

Mr Varslavans was one of 30 EU nationals who lost their jobs, while UK citizens working at the hotel were kept on.

A Latvian national Mr Varslavans said he could not go home or even get to to London to get permission to travel home, because he only has £20 to his name.

The hotel worker supports an 86-year-old aunt in Latvia and has bills that he needs to pay with his final salary.

He said he was unclear if overtime of 84 hours would be paid to him.

Mr Varslavans said: "We have been left with nothing. We would have been sleeping on the streets if the media and politicians didn't help us. Britannia allowed us to sleep in our rooms for another night.

"Staff have been offered accommodation elsewhere, and places like Subway in Aviemore have offered us drinks and food.

"But the real problem is what to do next.

"I have family that I support in Latvia and I pay rent for my 86-year-old aunt's house so that she can live.

"I have no money, no savings. Everything I have has been spent.

"I can not get to London to wait three days to get a travel pass visa to get home. At the moment the borders are closed. And I can not afford to fly home.

"I would need to sleep on the streets in London.

"I love Scotland, and I want to stay in the Highlands. I consider it my home."

Mr Varslavans made a heartfelt plea: "If anyone anywhere has a small job with accommodation then please consider giving it to me. I am a hard worker."

Britannia Hotels has come under pressure from customers and politicians to reinstate staff members immediately.

In a statement it said there had been an "administrative error" in issuing the letters to staff.

However, the staff members we spoke to were unaware that anything had changed since receiving their redundancy letters and were making plans to leave the hotel.

Some were going to stay at the nearby Macdonald Aviemore Resort whose chief executive had offered rooms to staff members.

Kind-hearted local business owners have come forward with offers of help despite many facing their own hardships because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Related article: Britannia Hotels claims letter sent to sacked staff was an 'administrative error'

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