IT has just emerged from one of the most bruising and dramatic industrial disputes in recent memory, while its increasingly strained relationship with the Labour Party rumbles on.

Now, as it picks up the pieces of its reputation, Unite the union reveals a new diversification - a move into the hotel business.

It has applied to demolish a property it has inherited in central Glasgow with the intention of redeveloping the site as a 16-storey hotel.

The entire cost of the demolition and rebuild is estimated at just over £2 million.

Unite's plans are to pull down the early 1960s-built Graphical House, the former home of the Graphical, Paper and Media Union, on Clyde Street, overlooking the river and just along from St Andrew's Catholic Cathedral.

The go-ahead for the scheme could be granted early next year. Unite would bring in a hotel firm to run the property.

At least one budget hotel operator has expressed an interest in the proposal, according to documentation lodged with Glasgow City Council by the team hired by Unite to get the scheme off the ground.

The property, formerly owned by Amicus, one of the unions which merged to form Unite, has not been used for offices since 2008. In 2010 its ground-floor tenant, Morrison's Bar, closed.

The union believes that, with Glasgow still well short of the number of hotel rooms it wants, a hotel would be the most suitable and profitable option for the site.

Commercial property firm GVA Grimley is advancing the plans for Unite. Its report to the council on the plans states: "Our client's advisors are in discussions with a number of interested parties on this proposed development.

"We have considered the requirements for a number of hotel developers in preparing this scheme and design."

The proposed development would consist of a 16-storey hotel including ground floor and first floor, comprising public reception area, bar/restaurant uses and conference room.

The report claims the development and regeneration of the Clyde Street area would be hindered without the site's demolition.

It states: "The proposed hotel development will greatly enhance the area, not only aesthetically, but it will help maintain and improve other retail and commercial/leisure uses within the wider network.

"A hotel on the waterfront will increase footfall in the area supporting the range of other uses. Moreover, the location of the proposed development ensures it is highly accessible through excellent transport connections.

"The site is accessible from areas all over the city, with its proximity to the rail and subway stations, bus routes, and the wider network with connections to Edinburgh and Prestwick International Airport."

A Unite spokesman said: "This is a property that was inherited through the merger with Amicus, which itself inherited the building from GPM.

"It is in a considerable state of disrepair and we will be consulting with our own advisors and Glasgow City Council going forward."

Senior members of the union in Scotland confessed to being surprised at the proposals.

And Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said: "Guests will wonder if among the attractions of staying at this establishment will be crossing a picket line to get to your room or facing a mass walkout during dinner service."