Macdonald Hotels blames costs hike for axing 50 jobs at Bathgate HQ

One of Scotland's biggest luxury hotel groups is planning shed up to 50 jobs, citing 'economic and political uncertainty' for rising costs.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 9:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 9:38 am
Macdonald Hotels is to make dozens of staff at its Bathgate HQ redundant. Picture: Google Maps

Macdonald Hotels is to make dozens of staff at its Bathgate HQ redundant because of “unsustainably high” costs.

In a letter to staff the company claimed “above inflation” rises in their “already significant” business rates, cost increases due to the rise in the minimum wage and uplifts in energy and utility costs had caused difficulties for the business. They also blamed increased apprenticeship levies and pension obligations.

Now the firm, which operates upmarket hotels in Edinburgh, Aviemore, Aberdeen, St Andrews and elsewhere across Scotland and England, has entered into a consultation with staff.

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They plan to “reduce group headcount” by around 50.

It is thought that some staff will be redeployed within the business where possible. It is understood the redundancies will come from back office staff working in areas such as marketing, conferencing, IT, accounting and payroll.

A spokesman for the firm declined to comment.

One former staff member, who asked not to be named, said: “It is a real sickener for the staff starting a new year with this hanging over them.

“There has been a lot of worry within the company about how Brexit might impact on them – the hospitality industry could well be susceptible to problems retaining European staff and a downturn in income if the economy takes a downturn.

“The company are not blaming Brexit, but the political uncertainty has been cited as a factor in the rising costs.”

The firm had undertaken a review of costs before taking the decision to consult with staff on redundancies.

The letter to staff states: “One of the findings from the review was that our operating costs are unsustainably high and we require to focus on reducing these as a priority for this year.

“As a result of these various factors we have been left with no option but to consider implementing a number of redundancies, as part of a wider cost reduction programme which will also target non-essential overheads and non-staff costs, but regrettably, one of the first steps we have been forced to consider is reducing our group headcount by around 50.”