Nearly two weeks after London's Jumeirah Carlton Tower closed its doors for a nine-month long renovation, a number of former employees have spoken of their "distress" at the way their positions were terminated.
More than 300 staff at the five-red-AA-star, 216-bedroom hotel were made redundant, with each team member receiving no more than the statutory compensation recommended by the government.
The maximum amount of statutory redundancy pay is £15,750, based on a week's and one and a half week's pay for each full year of employment after a 22nd and a 41st birthday respectively.
Statutory redundancy payment is capped at 20 years, however several staff had worked at the hotel for more than 30 years and received no compensation for the additional time. Any time worked at other hotels within the Dubai-based Jumeirah group was also not taken into consideration.
Despite staff being invited to take part in a consultation process, The Caterer was told they felt that terms and conditions were a foregone conclusion. The only concession they say was made was the offer of four weeks' "payment in lieu of notice" to those who stayed until the closure on 1 September to serve remaining guests.
The former Jumeirah employees who spoke to The Caterer said that "a total lack of respect" was shown to staff by the management team who did not thank them for their service or meet them in person to explain why the decision to make such widespread redundancies had been undertaken. Criticism was particularly directed at Jumeirah's chief executive José Silva and president, brand operations Pedro Deakin, who it is said did not talk to the team during visits to London.
One former member of staff said: "It hit us particularly hard coming so soon after the closure of our neighbour, the Mandarin Oriental, which retained and paid all of its staff throughout its closure following the fire at the hotel last summer."
Another team member added: "Jumeriah just believes in delivering the bare minimum. Minimal redundancy pay. Minimal care. Minimal respect. Minimal integrity."
A core team of around 20 staff has been retained for the hotel, which is expected to reopen in spring 2020 after a significant re-modelling of the 17-storey building that will involve the introduction of more suites and the reduction of keys from 216 to 188 and new interiors by interior design company 1508 London.
However, Ian Richardson, who was appointed as interim general manager of the hotel in addition to his role as general manager of nearby sister property, the 88-bedroom Jumeirah Lowndes hotel, has recently left the company. His departure follows that of former general manager and regional vice-president for Europe Luc Delafosse, who left the hotel in January after 14 months in the position.
A spokesperson for Jumeirah Carlton Tower, said that the company had had "to part with many employees, all of whom have received their contractual and statutory compensation" as a result of the nine-month renovation.
"We thank them for their valuable contribution over the years. We have explored all options for employee retention and former colleagues will have the opportunity to interview for vacant positions, ahead of the opening in spring 2020. Just before reopening of the hotel, we will announce the new general manager and head chef for our hotel."
Key former members of the management team at the Jumeriah Carlton Tower who have gone on to be appointed to high profile positions across London including Simon Young, who joined Rosewood London as executive chef last week and Paul Skinner, who has moved from an operations director tole to general manager at Dukes London.
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