Whitbread, the UK-based multinational hospitality firm has announced that it had started a consultation process with its employees, which could lead to as many as 6,000 job cuts, approximately 20 per cent of its workforce across the UK from November. The majority of the redundancies, 4,500 jobs, was planned at the Premier Inn budget hotel chain and another 1,500 jobs were to be cut at Whitbread's restaurants. The company had invited employees to take voluntary redundancies in the hope that compulsory redundancies can be avoided.
The chief executive officer said the job cuts were necessary because demand for hotels and restaurants continued to be “subdued” due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on socialising. In addition, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which helped the company to pay wages, was due to end in October. The chief executive added that with businesses increasingly shifting to work from home, the long term future of business travel was uncertain.
Whitbread is the UK’s largest operator of hotels and restaurants. The company owns the hotel chain Premier Inn and restaurant chains Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, among others.