Don Carlos hotel owners put redundancy plan on the table

The well-known hotel.
The well-known hotel. / SUR
  • The iconic Marbella resort says it has been trying to negotiate moving full-time staff from year-round contracts to seasonal ones

The Don Carlos Resort in Marbella, part of the Catalonia-based Selenta Group, has presented a compulsory redundancy plan to end the contracts of all its 94 full-time employees, according to the chair of the workers' committee, Marcos Rivero, of the Comisiones Obreras union.

The company is negotiating this redundancy plan (known as an ERE) when it still has a temporary furloughing plan (an ERTE) in place for staff due to the coronavirus crisis.

The five-star hotel complex, which has 299 rooms and is a well-known landmark near the A-7 east of Marbella, has been closed since the state of alarm and has still not announced when it plans to reopen, unlike most other high-end hotels on the Costa del Sol.

Company sources said that due to the current crisis, the owners have decided to move from year-round operations to summer season opening.

"An attempt has been made to reach an agreement to change existing contracts to this new way of working but it hasn't been possible. So we've had to put this ERE on the table," they said.

The workers' representative said that this reason isn't correct and that what the company wants isn't to close in winter but to "keep it open 12 months, weakening the working conditions of all the full-time workers, converting their contracts into 58.33% part-time". When the workforce didn't accept this, the company put forward the redundancy proposal, according to the workers' version.

Unions are opposed to the mass redundancy. "It is outrageous," said union leader Lola Villalba who pointed out that this is the first redundancy plan in a Costa hotel due to the coronavirus crisis.

"It is exceptional and unheard-of for a company of this standing to get rid of its staff after 52 years with the excuse of the pandemic," Villalba added. The workers say they were asking to move to a voluntary furloughing scheme rather than opt for redudancy.

The company has announced its plans while rules are in force that stop companies making redundancies for economic or production reasons, which means the ERE redudancy plan could cost the hotel more than usual, including paying back state help received in recent months.