Whitbread to cut 6,000 jobs as furlough scheme ends

Whitbread to cut 6,000 jobs as furlough scheme ends

Whitbread, owners of the Premier Inn brand of hotels, has confirmed it will cut 6,000 jobs across its portfolio.

The company, which also operates the Beefeater chain of restaurants, said the move was necessary following a slump in travel following the Covid-19 outbreak.

It comes as the furlough scheme offer by the UK government, which still pays 27,000 Whitbread staff, ends next month.

Whitbread described the move as a “regrettable but necessary step”.

The cuts represent 18 per cent of the total workforce at the company.

Whitbread chief executive, Alison Brittain, said: “Our teams have worked very hard to reopen our hotels and restaurants and we are now firmly in the ‘restore’ phase of our response to the Covid-19 crisis.

“Our performance following the re-openings has been ahead of the market, however, it has been clear from the beginning of this crisis that even as restrictions are eased and hospitality businesses such as ours reopen their doors, that demand would be materially lower than financial 2020 levels for a period of time.

“Given this backdrop, we have already taken extensive action to protect the business, retain financial flexibility and position it for long-term success.

“We continue to work hard to ensure that we emerge from the crisis with a more flexible operating model and a stronger, more resilient business.”

Whitbread said it hoped a “significant proportion” of the redundancies could be made voluntarily.

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