Union representatives for workers at the Sheraton Brussels Hotel, located on Place Rogier in Brussels, fear that the hotel will be declared insolvent today (Tuesday). This might occur following an extraordinary Works Council meeting.
Grace Papa, the Permanent Secretary for the CSC Food and Services Trade Union, is amazed and not at all relaxed about the matter saying, “The hotel may be filing for winding up, despite being in good financial shape.”
The trade union representative says that the owner of the hotel, the Swedish businessman Rolf Nordström, will be present at the Works Council for the first time ever today.
At the end of October, the Brussels Court of Commerce accepted the request for protection of assets from creditors made by the Sheraton Brussels Hotel, which was drawn up the previous month.
Grace Papa is insistent that the hotel has suffered a decrease in occupancy level since the March 22nd attacks but in no way does this justify potential insolvency.
He says, “The situation is not particularly alarming. The hotel is large, often full, well situated, highly renowned with strong global group and brand.”
The trade unionist flags up other aspects, in particular the expensive work to remove asbestos due to the age of the building.
The CSC’s Permanent Secretary adds, “In the event of insolvency, we will undertake legal action to check if the employer has done absolutely everything possible with a view to saving its business.”
When contacted by the Belga press agency, the Starwood Hotels & Resorts group, responsible for the everyday operation and management of the Sheraton Brussels Hotel, confirmed that the corporate reorganisation arrangements were removed last Friday.
However, it states that the matter relates to the financial situation of SPRL SBH (a private limited company), which operates hotel-based activities. It is not linked to the Sheraton brand, Marriott International or other affiliated companies.
The communiqué adds, “We do not know what this means for the hotel’s future.” It goes on, “The current hotel management contract ends at the end of December, but this is not the reason why the company is requesting protection from its creditors.”
The Sheraton Hotel, indeed one of the largest in Belgium, employs around 200 people.