The news that the Unite union is spending £10 million to renovate the hotel it owns in Eastbourne, at the same time as staging a nationwide march against poverty, has predictably raised a few eyebrows.
After the lavish refurbishment at the seafront Eastbourne Centre was revealed by the travel website TripAdvisor this week, the news earned an honorary mention in The Times.
Is it really incongruous for a trade union, which is campaigning against the Government’s austerity drive, to then invest a considerable sum of money in a hotel which was originally built in 1974 to give its members the opportunity of a working class holiday?
Of course not.
What Unite are doing by modernising the former Transport and General Workers’ Union Centre is giving a shot in the arm to the Eastbourne economy which the union is demanding nationally from the Government.
The multi-million pound investment, which will see all of the bedrooms and lobbies of the four-star hotel renovated, along with its restaurant, will provide employment for workers in Eastbourne in a variety of service sectors.
By committing themselves to the investment, it serves as a ringing endorsement of the hotel by Unite and a commitment to the Eastbourne tourism economy.
It is precisely the shot in the arm which this town needs.