Butlin’s defends recruitment practices following criticism

Redcoats at Butlin's.
Redcoats at Butlin's.
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A coastal resort has defended against accusations it has snubbed local jobseekers in favour of Eastern Europeans, highlighting the hundreds of UK citizens it employs in permanent positions.

Butlin’s resort director Chris Baron said he was ‘disappointed’ by the negative comments which he feels are unfair given the resort’s standing as one of the district’s largest employers of local people.

He said: “We employ 900 UK citizens - there’s nowhere else in East Lindsey that employs that many local people.”

Mr Baron’s defence follows a story in the Sunday Mirror, which accused Butlin’s of advertising for posts through agencies in Eastern Europe instead of recruiting unemployed locals.

The story also prompted concerned comments from the Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Anderson who criticised the resort’s recruitment practices.

Speaking at last Wednesday’s Skegness Town Council meeting he said: “I’m very concerned that local people don’t have the opportunity of getting work at Butlin’s.

“We owe it to our community to ask Butlin’s, if they are doing it, why they are encouraging agencies in Eastern European to work in Skegness rather than our own local people.”

Coun Anderson said he would be writing to the managing director of Bourne Leisure, which owns Butlin’s resorts around the country, including the Ingoldmells facility, asking for an explanation of their recruitment policy.

Mr Baron has conceded that Butlin’s does advertise for jobs on the continent and employs just under 200 foreign workers, but added that more than 80 per cent of its employees are British, many from the Skegness area.

He explained that Butlin’s has always recruited from outside the area, as the local workforce, particularly during summer, was insufficient to fill all the necessary posts.

However, he has also said that by reducing the level of on-site accommodation for its staff, Butlin’s is looking to foster more local workers, not fewer.

“We’ve always had 600 workers living on site, which means they come from out of town and by knocking down 80 beds, we are actually reducing that, which will mean even more people are from the local community,” he said.

Butlin’s also attended last week’s recruitment fair in Skegness and provides training opportunities to local workers, many of which gain qualifications during their employment.

Mr Baron hoped that Coun Anderson would have focused more on those positives, particularly as he has regularly highlighted the need for all year round employment in the region.

“It’s far more important that the mayor focuses on the highly successful nature of a 52 weeks in the year business,” he said.

“Only the other day he was talking about how important that was, and we are the most successful 52 weeks in the year business in the area personally, I think we should be celebrating the fact that there are 800 jobs here, even in January.”