Staff ‘forced’ out of Pontins

An estimated eighty staff at Pontins say they have been told they can no longer live on site at the Camber Sands holiday centre.

Staff were celebrating in January when Britannia Hotel Group bought the struggling company for a reported £20m saving 850 jobs.

Now they say they have been given just three weeks to get out of their on-site accommodation.

One distraught employee told the Observer: “Staff had high hopes when Britannia took over but this week those hopes were dashed when scores of staff were told Britannia were no longer allowing some staff to live on site and they had three weeks to find alternative accommodation.

“These staff have stuck with Pontins through thick and thin and given their loyalty when all others were abandoning the company and this is how they are repaid.

“This is a kick in the teeth to all those loyal hard working staff.”

Another staff member said: “I have lived on site for three years. I would say 95 percent of staff live on site at Camber. It is only some managers who are being allowed to stay.

“This is just not enough time to find somewhere else to live. You need references and have to find a month’s rent as deposit. Some places ask for two months in advance.

“They don’t seem to realise that this is different from Pontins at Southport, where you have Merseyside on your doorstep.

“Camber is in the middle of nowhere and if they think they can fill jobs with local people that will not happen. People are being forced out and treated very unfairly.”

A regular Pontins holidaymaker said: “Finding places to rent nearby is nearly impossible, so people will be losing their jobs and also their home.

“Will they actually find people to work for them, when the hours are long and unsociable and the pay poor?

“Staff will now have to travel, the only reason people worked there was the fact that accommodation was offered.

“Pontins was kept alive by it’s loyal, hard working staff, but that seems to count for nothing with the new regime. I see a recruitment disaster looming.”

The new owners have said they intend to invest £25m, effectively re-launching the company.

Pontins currently operates four other camps - Brean Sands in Somerset, Pakefield in Suffolk, Southport on Merseyside and in the Welsh resort of Prestatyn.

Britannia Hotel Group has not responded to requests from the Rye Observer this week to comment on the situation.