Ninety-five staff members at the Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, have been notified that they will be losing their jobs. The hotel is set to accommodate 241 asylum seekers as part of the government’s plans.

The decision by the Home Office has raised concerns about integrating asylum seekers in the community and ensuring they receive adequate support. The staff members will cease working at the hotel on July 10 2023, the day that the asylum seekers are scheduled to move in.

Staff informed while owners absent

Hotel staff were informed of the job cuts during a meeting on 27 June 2023.

The announcement came via an email from hotel management. There were no representatives of the hotel’s owners, Sterling Woodrow, at the meeting.

Some staff members who couldn’t attend joined via phone, while others were notified by their colleagues afterwards. The news was met with shock, although some expressed relief at finally receiving clarity about their employment status.

Cancellations and protests

All pre-booked events at the hotel, including weddings scheduled after 10 July 2023, have been cancelled. This decision follows a protest held on Sunday 25 June at which around 100 demonstrators voiced their opposition to the asylum seekers’ accommodation plans.

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Carmarthenshire Council had also previously expressed strong opposition to the government’s proposal.

MP condemns treatment of hotel staff

Labour MP Dame Nia Griffith, representing Llanelli, criticised the hotel’s owners and the UK government for the treatment of the staff.

She called it a “disgraceful and degrading way to treat the workers” and demanded accountability from the Home Office’s housing contractor, Clearsprings, and the government. Griffith has also reached out to the affected staff to offer her support.

Home office responds to concerns

A spokesperson from the Home Office addressed concerns and emphasised that the use of hotels for housing asylum seekers is deemed unacceptable.

They stated that over 51,000 asylum seekers are currently housed in hotels, costing the UK taxpayer £6 million per day. The spokesperson gave an assurance that the government is engaging with local authorities, prioritising safety for hotel residents and the local community.

Measures such as onsite security and financial support are also being implemented to mitigate the impact on the communities involved. Relevant parties including Carmarthenshire Council, Sterling Woodrow and Clearsprings have been approached for comment.