A trade union has criticised Donald Trump’s “rank hypocrisy” after the US president won approval for a second golf course in Aberdeenshire while jobs are being cut at his Turnberry resort.
The RMT said the plans to build a new multi-million-pound course cast doubt on claims that redundancies at Turnberry were due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The union says the real motive is to “slash the headcount, hire and fire at will and dump hard-earned improvements to pay and conditions under the cloak of the pandemic”.
Plans for a new 18-hole golf course have been approved by Aberdeenshire Council, despite local objections.
The course is to be named MacLeod after Trump’s Scots mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, and will be built adjacent to the current course on his Menie Estate.
The area of land had already been marked in the local development plan for two 18-hole golf courses, a resort hotel (450 rooms) with conference centre and spa, 36 “golf villas” and 950 holiday apartments in four blocks and up to 500 houses and community facilities.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It is rank hypocrisy of the highest order for the Trump operation to blame the pandemic and a cash crisis for the axing of dozens of staff at Turnberry while at the same time they were planning all along to spend millions on a new course.
“There is no shortage of money and all they ever wanted was to use the pandemic as a cloak for slashing the headcount and working conditions and exploiting a global crisis to rule by fear.
“RMT will continue to fight the cuts and stand up for the rights of the Trump workforce in Scotland.”
Many locals objected to the Aberdeesnshire application, citing loss of public space and the impact it would have on water supply, private roads and nearby estates.
Environment agency Sepa also objected to the application, saying the water management plan was inadequate and the environmental management plan was not appropriate.
A planned major expansion of the Turnberry resort in Ayrshire was rejected earlier this year. The Trump Organisation wanted to create upmarket housing around the golf club.
But the local council vetoed the plans – threatening efforts by the US president’s company to stem Turnberry’s heavy losses.
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