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Aviemore hotel worker thanks the people of the Highlands after being made homeless during coronavirus emergency

By Louise Glen

Normunds Varslavans.
Normunds Varslavans.

An Aviemore hotel worker has thanked the people of the Highlands and beyond for stepping in after he lost his job and place to live.

Normunds Varslavans (36) said that without the support of newspapers, TV and the local community he would be facing a very bleak future, with only £20 in his pocket.

Mr Varslavans, from Latvia, and 30 of his EU colleagues were dismissed by a letter from Britannia Hotels, the parent company of the Coylumbridge Hotel where he worked.

Without a show of support from the local community, and from throughout the Highlands, Mr Varslavans said no-one would have listened.

Mr Varslavans said: "We were helped by a citizen adviser who came to the hotel to help us.

"We can now all stay in the hotel accommodation and we can take meals in the staff canteen. There are still not enough places for us all to stay elsewhere.

"From Monday, the citizen advisers will be working with us to find accommodation and jobs.

"Me and all the other workers here want to say a big thanks to everyone.

"To the TV, radio, newspapers and citizens advisers, we thank you. And for all the suggestions and help on Facebook for ideas about what we can do in this situation, we say thank you."

He finished: "We have not heard from our employers since they have communicated with the citizen advisers. We can stay and try not to cry.

"Thanks one million times."

Britannia Hotel said it had made an "administrative error" in terminating the workers' accommodation and employment.

Highland councillor Emma Knox said: "Highland Council have reached a deal with Britannia Hotels to allow sacked staff to stay in their accommodation.

"The council is providing financial advice and counselling.

"Well done residents and businesses in Aviemore who rallied round."

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