MADRID (AP) — Employees at Spain's luxury Parador hotels, which are set in some of the country's most picturesque castles, monasteries and palaces, began a two-day strike on Friday to protest job cuts and possible closures.
The hotel group, which opened the first Parador in 1928, said a drop in demand could leave it with accumulated losses of €107 million ($140 million) by the end of the year. "The company's financial situation is untenable," it said in a statement, adding it intended to cut 644 jobs out of a workforce of 4,400. The company said that if the group did not take measures, losses would reach €139 million in 2013.
Trade union spokesman Antonio Ruda claimed the losses are partly due to the cost of refurbishing hotel buildings that don't even belong to the chain. He said most of the buildings are classified as part of Spain's national heritage and leased to the hotel chain.
"Workers are being asked to sacrifice their livelihoods to justify repairing church-owned buildings likely to be sold." Ruda noted it cost about €48 million to refurbish the Parador in the southeastern city of Cadiz, a sum accounted for as a running cost.
He said that apart from the job losses, 948 other staff would have their duties reduced to part-time work and up to seven hotels would be closed at a time when Spain's tourism industry was "the only one, more or less, surviving the financial crisis."