NICOLA Sturgeon has  “unreservedly condemned” a decision by a hotel in the Highlands to make all its staff redundant and evict them amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A letter to workers at the Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore - owned by Britannia Hotels – was revealed on Thursday night, which ended employment and told affected staff to leave their accommodation immediately.

The First Minister said: “This is an unimaginably difficult time for businesses and for employers and those who work across our economy.

“My message to businesses large and small is that we know this is difficult, we know times are hard, and we will do everything we can to help you.

“I’m asking businesses to treat your workers fairly and to respect the health advice. Don’t make your employees come to work when the health advice says they should be in isolation.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Scotland: Tourism boss left ‘speechless’ by Highland hotel’s decision to sack and evict workers

She added: “I would unreservedly condemn the approach taken in the Aviemore case – that is not how we want employers to operate.

“I don’t under-estimate and don’t try to downplay the difficulty that employers are in. We have seen so many good examples - McDonald hotels stepping in to offer accommodation to those affected by that.

"We want to be doing everything we can to support businesses, but in turn, we need businesses and employers to support their workforce too."

An SNP MP has now written to the Britannia Hotels management, calling for the redundancy letters to be rescinded.

Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathsprey, has contacted Britannia CEO Alex Langsam, calling on him to tear up the redundancy notices.

He said: "This move by Britannia Hotels is completely unacceptable. I understand it is a worrying time for the hotel trade and urgent support is needed, but we are all in this emergency together. This fails even the most basic test of how to treat people.
"I have written to the CEO of Britannia Hotels and asked him to rescind the redundancy letters, and offered to discuss with him how a different path can be taken – one that supports everyone affected fairly and humanely. If there was ever a time for looking out for others, this is it, even when businesses are understandably concerned.

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"However, whilst these redundancy letters were shocking and should be rescinded immediately, it is great to see the way the wider community is rallying round those affected with offers of support."

Scottish Greens Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie, has also written to Mr Mr Langsam, pleading for the action to be reversed.

He said: "I was absolutely furious when i first heard the news, my heart goes out to those staff who have been treated appallingly by Britannia.

"Everyone understands that this unprecedented crisis presents unique challenges, particularly for the tourism sector. The answer to that is to seek support, to collaborate and support one another. Britannia’s actions are utterly tone deaf."

He added: "It has been heartening to see the reaction from the local community and concerned folk from further afield, further highlighting how unnecessary Britannia’s cruelty was.”

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"I’ve written to the Scottish Government to demand that companies who act in this manner are denied public funding. This crisis requires us to stand in solidarity with one another, there’s no time for charlatans like this.

"I’ve also written to the chief executive of Britannia Hotels to express my outrage asking they rescind this approach and reinstate and rehouse the staff."