THE Hallmark Hotel at Grappenhall has become another victim of the Coronavirus pandemic and looks set to remain closed until March next year with around 40 full and part-time staff facing redundancy.
The once busy and popular family owned Fir Grove Hotel, which was re-branded as the Hallmark Hotel after being taken over by Best Western, is part of a group of hotels managed by LGH in England and Scotland, where about 1,500 staff have been told they are at risk of redundancy because of the coronavirus crisis.
LGH who manage 55 properties, including some Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Hallmark hotels, say staff are in a consultation period.
But the partner of one team member who contacted warrington-worldwide said the company had “made it clear” most of those roles would go.
It becomes the latest in a long list of business in the hospitality sector which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
LGH say no hard and fast decisions had been made about how many jobs would be cut – but many staff are fearing for the futures.
Joanne Monk, group people and development director at LGH, commented on the challenges faced by the hospitality sector saying: “There is absolutely not the demand [for hotels]that there was before the pandemic.
She added that Redundancy wasn’t what anybody wants. There is absolutely not the demand for hotels that there was before the pandemic and that was not likely to change within the next six to 12 months.
The majority of staff who are at risk are operational – such as chefs, bar people, front-of-house staff and cleaners – but LGH-managed staff are at risk across the board.
The “central staff” – that is, the higher management within the firm – are also at risk, she said.
Staff had been regularly informed about furloughing, she said.
The winding down of the government’s job retention scheme from the beginning of August was a factor in the timing of the consultation, but the main reason the firm had warned staff about the risk of redundancy was that it did not anticipate demand to pick up within the next year, she added.
Simon Teasdale CEO of LGH Hotels Management Limited added: “In order to master the current Covid-19 situation, we are currently holding intensive talks with the staff. We are endeavouring to protect the interests of the employees and our company as best we can. Since the occupancy rate of hotels in the face of the pandemic necessitates capacity adjustments, we are currently reviewing all options for ensuring the company’s continued success.
“Please understand that we will not comment on any details of the ongoing talks at this time.”
The hotel and hospitality industry is one part of the UK economy that has been hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pizza Express announced earlier this week that it could close 67 UK restaurants, with the loss of 1,100 jobs.
Meanwhile in August alone, Dixons Carphone who own Currys PC World, with premises in Warrington, said 800 jobs are to go, Hays Travel, with four branches in Warrington, said 878 employees may lose their jobs and DW Sports, who have a store and gym in Warrington, said 1,700 jobs were at risk.