Accommodation is Oban’s main issue for finding staff

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Accommodation, not Brexit, is the main issue for businesses struggling to recruit seasonal workers in Oban, according to a hotel manager.

James Anderson, manager at the Perle Oban, is finding it tough to fill at least seven positions within the hotel.

‘We are all struggling; it’s a difficult one,’ he told The Oban Times.

‘Accommodation is the biggest factor. You can have applicants outwith the area, but without the accommodation here, it means you cannot fill the roles.

‘You get applicants, but it is a case of not being able to progress any further because they can’t get accommodation.’

It is not only his potential employees who struggle to find somewhere to stay, as Mr Anderson experienced the problem firsthand. He has been manager of the Perle Oban for 12 weeks.

However, it took him 11 weeks to find secure accommodation, and the closest home he could find was in Taynuilt.

‘Some of the flats and houses I went to view had 10 other people applying.’

Chief executive of BID4Oban, Andrew Spence, echoed Mr Anderson’s views on accommodation.

‘I would agree that there is a problem trying to get seasonal workers in Oban but I don’t think we can blame it all on Brexit,’ he said.

‘There are two issues that need to be addressed, accommodation being one and pay being the other.

‘People want to come and work here but finding somewhere affordable to stay is a huge problem. Add to that the problem of minimum wage and zero hours contracts and you then find that lack of stability for incoming workers is a major factor also.

‘Some businesses maybe want to take a look at the hours they are offering and revise them a bit. Rather than having a whole load of part-timers they could increase contracted hours to make the role more financially worthwhile.

‘Some of the key businesses in the town are retaining their staff by approaching things in a different manner.

‘In saying that, some of the media relating to this recently has been creating a problem and then making it worse.

‘Just because somewhere is shut for a short time it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because there are no staff.’