MP wants probe into ho­tel re­dun­dan­cies

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY STE­WART PATER­SON

AGLASGOW MP has called on the Chan­cel­lor to ini­ti­ate an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a ho­tel group that is mak­ing mass re­dun­dan­cies af­ter us­ing the fur­lough scheme.

Ste­wart McDon­ald, Glas­gow South SNP MP, has writ­ten to Rishi Su­nak brand­ing the ho­tel group IHG, which owns the Blythswood and Grand Cen­tral ho­tels, ac­tions “morally rep­re­hen­si­ble”.

Mr McDon­ald said the group is in­tend­ing to use cash from the Coro­n­avirus Job Re­ten­tion Scheme to pay the no­tice of staff it is mak­ing re­dun­dant.

He said this is “morally, and po­ten­tially legally, prob­lem­atic” un­der the rules of the scheme.

Around 200 staff at the Blythswood Ho­tel and many at the Grand Cen­tral were fur­loughed when ho­tels were forced to close dur­ing the lock­down.

Mr McDon­ald said: “For firms to use money they have re­ceived through the Coro­n­avirus Job Re­ten­tion Scheme to pay the no­tice pay of staff is morally, and po­ten­tially legally, prob­lem­atic given the re­cent changes made by the Trea­sury now ex­plic­itly pre­vents em­ploy­ers from us­ing fur­lough money to pay the sev­er­ance pack­age of staff.

“The guid­ance ex­plic­itly states that ‘Grants can­not be used to sub­sti­tute re­dun­dancy pay­ments’.

“To re­ceive tax­payer funded sup­port aimed at pro­tect­ing jobs, only to then an­nounce mass re­dun­dan­cies is morally rep­re­hen­si­ble and goes against the good­will that the CJRS was es­tab­lished for.

“Trea­sury of­fi­cials must in­ves­ti­gate em­ploy­ers to en­sure the money they have re­ceived is used to pro­tect jobs and pay wages”

Bryan Simp­son, in­dus­trial or­gan­iser at Unite Hos­pi­tal­ity, said:

“The Govern­ment Job Re­ten­tion Scheme was es­tab­lished for the spe­cific pur­pose of al­low­ing em­ploy­ers to con­tinue pay­ing staff in order to avoid large scales re­dun­dan­cies like these. ”

A spokesman for IHG said: “When the lock­down first started we hoped our in­dus­try would bounce back quickly and us­ing the Coro­n­avirus Job Re­ten­tion Scheme en­abled us to keep as many peo­ple in Glas­gow em­ployed for as long as pos­si­ble.

“We now know it will un­for­tu­nately take time for travel and tourism to re­turn to pre-coro­n­avirus lev­els with at least one of our Glas­gow ho­tels not re­open­ing un­til 2021, which is well be­yond the life­span of the CJRS scheme.

We have launched a con­sul­ta­tion to re­size and re­struc­ture our ho­tel teams which sadly is likely to in­volve some re­dun­dan­cies.”

Hun­dreds of jobs are set to be lost at the Bythswood Ho­tel and the Grand Cen­tral Ho­tel

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