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Coronavirus: Hotel job losses threat at Europa, Stormont and Grand Central in Belfast, and the Ballygally after worst trading ever

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The Europa Hotel

The Europa Hotel

The Europa Hotel

Northern Ireland hotels group Hastings has confirmed it is consulting with its staff over job losses after the worst trading period of its history.

But Unite the union has said it is challenging the redundancy notices for staff at four of the company's seven hotels - The Europa, Stormont and Grand Central hotels in Belfast, and the Ballygally Hotel in Larne.

The trade union said it is questioning the legal basis for the redundancies as the government's job retention scheme is available to employers until October. From next month, companies are required to pay towards staff salaries under the scheme, which up until now has involved government paying 80% of monthly salaries.

The company, which is led by chief executive Howard Hastings, employs around 1,240 staff across its seven hotels. The group also includes the Culloden, Everglades and Slieve Donard.

A spokeswoman said: "Like many companies across the globe, Hastings Hotel Group is having to consider how it will adjust its workforce to adapt to the impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

"Even with the positive news that the sector will begin to reopen on July 3, we expect demand for hotels to be subdued for an extended period of time, particularly over the summer months which is traditionally the peak trading season.

"The collapse of the international visitor market, as well as business travel, has meant that we are forecasting our revenues to be significantly down over the next 12 months.

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Crisis: Howard Hastings

Crisis: Howard Hastings

Crisis: Howard Hastings

"In our long and distinguished years of trading, this is the worst crisis to ever hit the industry and our group. It will take a prolonged period of time for the sector to return to previous levels of activity.

"Regretfully, to safeguard the business and to protect a significant percentage of the jobs in the Hastings Hotel Group, we have no alternative but to take the difficult decision to consult with our staff."

Belfast Telegraph