35 unpaid workers walk out on 5-star hotel

THIRTY-FIVE unpaid workers at the exclusive Capella Castlemartyr Hotel have walked out, ahead of one of the busiest weekends of the year and amid threats that some of them will also “cause chaos” over the coming days.

Hotel and catering staff at the €80 million resort, half an hour from Cork city, say they had no choice but to quit this week after the recruitment agency, which employs them on behalf of the hotel, said it could not afford to pay them — because the hotel had not paid it in six weeks.

Colin Shannon, who worked as a chef at the hotel, said the situation was “disgusting”.

“For six weeks the recruitment agency has been paying us out of its own pocket,” he said.

“It has been left high and dry and is now maybe in danger itself as this is a substantial amount of money we are talking about.”

A spokesperson for Murlin recruitment, based in Cork, confirmed the situation but would not comment further as it is seeking legal advice.

Mr Shannon said he had been told the hotel simply refused to pay the agency and did not give any valid reasons.

“My heart goes out to the recruitment agency.

“It has been paying us for the past six weeks on the promise that the hotel will pay it, but the hotel management rang up and simply said they were not going to pay.”

Jeffrey Jacobs, manager of the hotel, confirmed that it had an “outstanding balance” with the recruitment agency.

“All balances will be settled. They are not our staff so I have no further comment to make,” he said.

Mr Shannon said he would now be looking for another job.

“We had no inkling this was going to happen.

“Obviously business has been slow but that doesn’t mean you don’t pay your staff.”

“They are shooting themselves in the foot as this is very big weekend without 35 staff — and some have said they are going to go up there and cause chaos. It could get nasty,” he said.

Earlier this week owners of the resort agreed with West Paces Hotel Group to end the management contract for the operation of the hotel by the Capella brand.

The Supple family who own the complex said negotiations, under way with an established five-star hotel operator, will be concluded in the coming weeks.


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