Hotel staff sacked and told to leave accommodation after government virus advice

Staff at a hotel in the Highlands have been sacked on the spot and told to leave accommodation immediately, with the company pinning the decision on government coronavirus advice.

A letter was sent to workers at the Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore, which is run by Britannia Hotels who appear to have made the decision based on measures as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

When contacted by the PA news agency, a member of staff at the hotel said some people had been affected but that it was not 30 as had been reported elsewhere.

But the letter, circulating on social media, has been slammed by politicians and members of the public alike with Britannia’s offer of “one week’s pay in lieu of notice”.

It says: “Taking the latest government advice, this letter is to confirm that with effect from March 19 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.

“You are asked to vacate the hotel accommodations immediately, returning any company property to John Macfarlane, Hotel Controller before leaving the hotel.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish you every success in securing future employment and thank you for your time at Britannia Hotels.”

It comes just days after the Scottish Government announced financial actions being taken to help businesses across the country affected in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The hospitality sector was one of the first to receive special support with a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief announced on Wednesday.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes tweeted: “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 – called the hotel’s move “unacceptable”.

He also said: “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.

“I have offered to help to discuss how a different path can be taken that seeks to support everyone affected fairly and humanely.

“If ever there was a time for looking out for others, this is it, even when businesses are rightly concerned.

Like many of you who have been in touch with me this evening, I am appalled that the staff at Coylumbridge Hotel have…

Posted by Drew Hendry MP on Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mr Hendry added: “Got to say, where the letter from the Coylumbridge Hotel was shocking, it is just fabulous the way the wider community is rallying round with offers of support for those affected on my FB page.

“Well done to our communities.”

Comments on the Facebook page include offers of accommodation from other nearby hotel owners.

The PA news agency was told to contact Britannia’s head office on Friday morning for more information.

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