They are young, they have work in the region, and they want to stay. About 20 employees of the "dorint resort& spa" held a rally yesterday afternoon on the old town hall square. Some brought their children, even older employees were there, but the core of the demonstrators were young people. "We came out of solidarity with those who had to leave", says one of them. "And we are afraid that we will soon lose our jobs too", says another.
On monday, the hotel operator "new dorint gmbh" had with headquarters in koln the furstenhof with 51 rooms closed and ten employees announced (we reported). The company cited a lack of fire protection as the reason for the fire. The fact that the risk has become too great is understood by the employees: "we are fully booked for the next four weekends. The dorint would not put up with the trouble with the guests if everything was in order", says a young woman.
Testimony against testimony
Change of location. The furstenhof is idyllically situated in the castle park at the state baths. Colorful foliage is everywhere. Oliver fiege climbs the stairs to the property. From here, the hotel manager, who took over the dorint in september 2012, can look out over the entire complex. The view stretches all the way to the dreistelz.
But one thing disturbs the idyll: since wednesday a construction fence seals off the furstenhof. Fiege opens the door, goes upstairs past the empty reception desk. There are no smoke detectors in the rooms and in the corridors, the doors to the staircase are not fire resistant. Then fiege shows a window that is 70 by 70 centimeters small. Too small, says dorint's fire safety expert. Rough enough, say the experts of the state of bavaria.
"We have the assurance of our experts that there is no danger to life and limb at the furstenhof," assures spa director andrea scholz, spa director andrea schallenkammer assures the demonstrators. "The free state of bavaria has taken a lot of money into its own hands to modernize fire protection", she continues. These inspections have been going on since 2005 (see info box). But this does not convince the demonstrators. Too many questions remain unanswered for them.
Conflicts in the background
For example the question about the fire protection certificate for the furstenhof. The dorint requested the paper several times but never received it, says fiege. "We have to assume that there may be even more serious deficiencies in fire protection", he insists on safety for the guests. Before the closure of the furstenhof – fiege doesn't call it a closure, he says "preliminary closure" or "non-occupancy" – a fire protection company has assigned a security guard day and night for the safety of the guests. "If the furstenhof burns tomorrow…", kaspar muller-bringmann, press spokesman for dorint, raises the question that is also on the minds of dorint employees.
It is true that the requested document has not yet been handed over to the dorint, says schallenkammer. "But that was not due to the content of the certificate; there are other reasons at play between the contractual partners", the spa director looks on fondly. This background, however, remains hidden from the demonstrators. As one of their protest posters read? "Power play at the expense of small employees…"