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A FRESH flood of job losses in the hospitality industry loomed today after pub chain Marston’s announced more than 2,000 workers were to go.
The group said that the move would impact 2,150 of its pub workers currently on furlough support – and threatened a further cost-cutting plan by the end of the year.
Marston’s has become the first big business to announce job losses following the latest nationwide measures to tackle the surge in coronavirus cases.
The measures have seen curfews placed on hospitality venues and the closure of sites not serving food in high-risk areas such as Liverpool.
Unite, which has 580 members working at Marston’s, said the hospitality sector was “now on life support” and renewed its call for the government to take concrete action to save the industry.
The union’s regional officer Rick Coyle said: “This grim news from Marston’s is another nail in the coffin of the struggling hospitality industry.
“Thousands of jobs across the UK are depending on such a package being delivered urgently by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, otherwise the UK’s hospitality sector will become a wasteland.”
Shadow business minister Lucy Powell warned that Marston’s job cuts would likely be the first of many due to the new restrictions.
She said: “I fear this will just be the tip of the iceberg for hospitality businesses as new restrictions begin to bite, without anything like a sufficient support package to meet overheads, cash flow and proper incentives for employers to keep staff on.”
Marston’s said it had 21 sites in Scotland, of which eight are currently closed, and 18 in the Tier-3 Liverpool region, although the majority of these serve food and are allowed to remain open.
Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “The additional restrictions which have been applied across the UK most recently present significant challenges to us and will make business more difficult for a period of time.
“I very much regret that the consequence of this is that the jobs of around 2,150 of our colleagues will be impacted, but it is an inevitable consequence of the limitations placed upon our business.
“We will be looking at our cost base further in the coming weeks.”
Marston’s claimed the new rules “undermine consumer confidence and create uncertainty” and called them “hugely disappointing” in view of evidence that pubs have been effective in minimising risks.
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