A Swindon hotel manager with a large overseas workforce is calling on Theresa May to soften her hard-line approach to Brexit over the coming months as negotiations officially begin.
Vaidas Viktaravicius is the general manager at the Campanile Hotel on Delta Business Park, where 15 of the 27 employees are from other European countries such as France, Poland, Portugal and Lithuania, and he is cautious about the consequences of a potential new immigration policy.
Vaidas, who moved to the UK from Lithuania in 2005 aged 22, has since worked his way up to a senior position at the hotel chain and has recently bought a house in Mouldon View on the outskirts of the town.
He said: “I am quite calm about Brexit as I have been in the UK for a long time, but I can’t say the same thing for other EU nationals, particularly those who I work with.
“A couple of staff from Poland who have recently joined us are nervous about going on holiday to visit their family back at home, because they’re afraid of not being able to come back to the UK and stay long-term.
“From my point of view I also employ a lot of workers from overseas, so any restrictions on immigration could, worst case scenario, see me lose some of my work force.
“We are still two years away from negotiations concluding though, so I’m hopeful that when the time comes, they will have been here long enough to stay and carry on working at the hotel.
“We have six employees from Europe who have spent at least three years working here, so we’ve developed a strong family atmosphere at the hotel over the years which we do not want to see end.”
Mark Aldridge is Director of Operations for Louvre Hotels Group UK and Iberia, which has 18 Campanile and Premiere Classe hotels around the UK.
He added: “The beauty of the hotel industry is it brings people from all different nationalities and walks of life together, so every hotel manager in the land is waiting to see how Brexit will impact them – particularly our hotel in Swindon which has one of the highest numbers of workers from other EU countries compared to our other hotels.
“My advice to Vaidas and everyone else is to carry on as normal, because until anything is announced, we can’t be sure what the final impact will be.”