Union attacks Great Southern sell-off plan

01 January 2000
Union attacks Great Southern sell-off plan

The trade union representing 800 workers at Ireland's Great Southern Hotels group says it will campaign against a proposal to sell off the hotels.

The Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) is seeking meetings with government minister Mary O'Rourke to explain its opposition to a proposed sale and break-up of the eight-strong group.

Great Southern Hotels, which is part of the semi-state-owned airport management company Aer Rianta, has been making profits of up to IR£4m (£3.35m) a year. It recently added a 147-bedroom hotel at Dublin airport and is building another hotel in Cork.

A consultant's report on Aer Rianta has suggested it should dispose of non-core activities in preparation for a stock market flotation.

Ryan Hotels said it would be interested in one or two of Great Southern's hotels but not the entire group. Ryan has a IR£50m (£41.9m) acquisition fund following a 22% rise in pre-tax profits to IR£6.1m (£5.1m) in the year to the end of January.

"There is a degree of overlap. But it's difficult to comment without knowing the profitability of the hotels," said Ryan's chief executive, Patrick Coyle.

SIPTU's Jack Nash said: "Any attempt to privatise or break up the group will be opposed vigorously." Great Southern should remain as a group within the semi-state sector, he added.

by Brendan Nolan

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