Christmas shock

Virgin closes hotel in Glasgow after four months

Virgin Hotels Glasgow opened in August

Virgin Hotels has closed its outlet in Glasgow with the loss of about 130 jobs just four months after it opened.

Staff were informed following a meeting with the firm’s chief executive who flew in from Miami to deliver the news.

It comes weeks after the company which owns the building called in administrators.

The 240-room hotel on the banks of the River Clyde opened in August to great fanfare following the successful opening by Virgin chief Richard Branson in Edinburgh.

But the owner of the Clyde Street building – Lloyds Developments Limited – was put into administration by its lenders on 1 December.

It meant the directors of V Hotel Glasgow Ltd – the operating company – were advised to place it into liquidation.

Bryan Simpson, hospitality organiser for Unite, said staff had been treated “outrageously” and added it was unclear whether they would be paid for the hours worked before Tuesday’s meeting.

He said: “Our members were told today by the CEO that the hotel would be closing with immediate effect, without the required notice or consultation, all just six days before Christmas.

“This isn’t just morally reprehensible, it may be unlawful and we will be doing everything in our power to ensure that these workers get the wages, severance packages and compensation that they deserve.”

A spokesperson for Virgin said it had made every effort to secure the future of the hotel, including a bid to buy the building, but that offer had been turned down.

The company still hopes it can reopen if the building acquires a new owner and said former staff would be given “priority” for new roles.

In a statement it said: “Virgin Hotels is very disappointed by this decision after the hard work everyone has put into the hotel and because of the impact it will have on the team that works there.

“The Virgin Hotels team continues to have great ambitions for managing the hotel in Glasgow and looks forward to re-opening once a new owner is in place.

In an email sent to employees, Virgin Hotels CEO James Bermingham said: “We are grateful to all of you at Virgin Hotels Glasgow for all you have done to launch this hotel and make it a success. In the meantime, Virgin Group and the owners are committed to ensuring you are paid for every day you have worked this month.

“The team will work through the details with you. We are also happy to connect you with other Virgin companies if and when job opportunities arise in the future.

“We plan to re-open the hotel once a new owner is in place and we hope we can work together to give you priority on jobs as before.”

Blair Nimmo, CEO of Interpath Advisory and joint interim manager, said: “We know that this will be a worrying and disappointing time for all concerned.

“We would very much hope that the hotel – a superb development, right in the heart of Glasgow – can be opened and operational again under new ownership at some point in the future.”

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