Coronavirus: Hotel chain branded 'heartless' after sacking staff on the spot and ordering them to leave accommodation

Yahoo News UK
Staff at the Aviemore Coylumbridge hotel were sent a letter telling them they were no longer required. (Picture: Google Maps)
Staff at the Aviemore Coylumbridge hotel were sent a letter telling them they were no longer required. (Picture: Google Maps)

A hotel chain has been branded “deplorable” and “heartless” after sacking staff at a Scottish hotel on the spot and ordering them to vacate their accommodation, blaming the decision on government coronavirus advice.

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Britannia Hotels sent a letter to workers at the Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore, saying: “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.”

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

The letter has sparked widespread criticism.

In a statement the Scottish Tourism Alliance said the approach by Britannia Hotels was not reflective of any business it or its members knew.

Chief executive Marc Crothall said: “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.”

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Drew Hendry – MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey – also branded the move “unacceptable”.

He said: “This fails even the most basic test of how to treat people.”

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes also 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.”

Other hotels in the area have been praised for stepping in to offer accommodation to those affected.

It is not known how many staff have lost their jobs, with some reports saying 30.

The letter to staff says: “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 despite support announced by the Scottish Government earlier this week for businesses across the country affected in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, including a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief.

Yahoo News UK has endeavoured to contact Britannia for comment.

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