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Unite slam hotels for profiting off redundancies

A UNION has hit out at a chain of luxury hotels set to make hundreds of its Scottish staff redundant rather than continue to furlough them.

Kimpton, which owns and operates the Blythswood Square and Charlotte Square Hotels in Glasgow and Edinburgh, issued more than 200 staff with redundancy notices this week. 

The chain described the industry’s struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic as an “incredibly difficult time,” and said that decisions needed to be made to ensure that hotels survive. 

The company had warned that a restructuring could result in redundancies after it furloughed staff earlier this year. 

Urging a rethink, Unite Hospitality organiser Bryan Simpson said the union did not accept that there was a need “for loyal, hardworking employees to be offloaded on the basis of compulsory redundancies.” 

Mr Simpson said: “We believe this proposal is premature, ill-conceived and unjustified. It presents [an] enormous risk to the effective and efficient operation of the hotel in the future.

“Kimpton hotels can and should continue to use the Job Retention Scheme at least until October, at which point alternatives to compulsory redundancies can be looked at.”

Unite Hospitality representatives have also criticised Kimpton’s decision to furlough staff before immediately looking to make them redundant. 

Organisers stressed that the furlough scheme was established to allow employees to be laid off temporarily in order to avoid large-scale redundancies, unlike the proposals put forward by Kimpston. 

Mr Simpson added: “For the company to access the scheme and then openly state it may dismiss loyal employees when it ends, placing a further burden on the state, is corporately irresponsible.

“The public would rightfully view this as a large corporation essentially cheating taxpayers out of money. It would severely damage the brand reputation of the company in the eyes of guests and future prospective employees.

“Our members at Blythswood and Charlotte Square Hotels are campaigning to prevent knee-jerk redundancies and maximise packages by ensuring our members voices are heard at the negotiating table.”

Kimpton Hotels was approached for comment by the Star. 

*Rolls Royce informed workers at its Inchinnan factory yesterday that it was opening a voluntary redundancy scheme, with 700 jobs at risk.

Unite organisers have pleaded with the company to roll back its decision, warning that it would lead to skills being "lost forever to the Scottish economy".

 

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