Yesterday we wrote about the early emergence of heroes and villains in hospitality, while some heroes are looking after the interests of their colleagues and peers, Britannia Hotels made employees immediately homeless.
We are delighted this morning to highlight a new hero emerging, Macdonald Hotels. In direct response to the situation of Britannia Hotels making some of their employees homeless, Macdonald Hotels have offered the same people refuge.
The actions of Britannia Hotels in the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular the Coylumbridge Hotel in the Scottish Highlands led to widespread condemnation across press and social media. In response hotel chain Macdonald Hotels stepped in to help homeless employees at the Coylumbridge.
The help was offered to people like Alvarito Garcia from Spain, who having worked at the Coylumbridge Hotel for nearly two years, was one of the staff immediately sacked and made homeless. In a statement to reporters Garcia said his best option now was to live in his tent until his food ran out.
Another Coylumbridge Hotel employee, Normunds Varslavans, from Latvia, said that 30 minutes after finishing work on Thursday he was notified his job had been terminated and also told to leave his accommodation immediately.
We understand that Britannia Hotels and the Coylumbridge Hotel have tried to back track on their actions saying it was “an administrative error”. We will leave readers to make their own minds up about that.
Macdonald Hotels help in resolving the issue
Recognising the precarious position of the people who worked at the Coylumbridge Hotel Macdonald Hotels through the nearby Macdonald Aviemore Resort stepped into action.
A spokesperson for Macdonald Hotels said: “The entire hospitality industry is being hit really hard, with temporary closures and layoffs across the board.
“However, when we heard of the situation at Coylumbridge Hotel, we immediately contacted the management there to offer their employees access to our staff accommodation at the nearby Macdonald Aviemore Resort to ensure they wouldn’t be put out on the street.”
Throughout yesterday Britannia Hotels stated that they were “unavailable for comment”.
Unlike Britannia local MSP’s and trade bodies were anything but anonymous.
CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Marc Crothall said he was “speechless” when made aware of Coylumbridge Hotel’s actions.
He spoke for many saying: “There is huge anger among our industry. This is not reflective of how all our businesses and our members behave.” Summing up Coylumbridge Hotel’s behaviour as “deplorable”.
He went on to say: “The crisis has hit every business, but we have seen nothing but compassion and respect across the sector and our utmost priority is to protect the employee welfare.”
Kate Forbes, Local MSP for the region said the hotel owners’ behaviour in a time of national crisis was “intolerable”.
“The decision to make staff redundant and homeless with no advance warning whatsoever is nothing short of callous, heartless and frankly unacceptable.”
As is already evident, in times of crisis when things get tough, the real heroes and villains take off their masks. We are delighted to highlight the empathy and camaraderie shown by Macdonald Hotels that our industry can be proud of, and as such would like to say, Thank You.