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22 October 2020

Home working forces pub chains to axe jobs

United Kingdom | The government’s decision to encourage people to work from home has hit city centre pubs hard. The pub chain Fuller’s told the BBC it may have to lay off up to 10 percent of its staff – about 500 people.

Fuller’s owns about 400 pubs and hotels in the UK, with many in central London, and employs almost 5,000 people. The firm also criticised the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants as “illogical” and “ill-conceived”. It is still working out how many staff will have to be made redundant, but said it will be at least 10 percent.

In early 2019, Fuller’s sold its heritage brewery, the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, west London, to Asahi for GBP 250 million (USD 330 million). This left the company to focus on its hotels and pubs business, which had generated most of its profits.

More bad news

Pub giant Greene King (2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels) announced that it is cutting 800 jobs after deciding that 79 pubs and restaurants will stay closed for the time being, with about one third of these expected to be shut permanently.

A spokeswoman for Greene King said: “The continued tightening of the trading restrictions for pubs, which may last another six months, along with the changes to government support, was always going to make it a challenge to reopen some of our pubs.”

Also, the hotel and restaurant operator Whitbread, which owns Premier Inn and the chain of Beefeater restaurants, warned that 6,000 staff could lose their jobs. The company blamed the cuts on a slump in hotel guest numbers since the lockdown.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon said that about half of its 1,000 staff who work at airport venues could lose their jobs because of the dramatic fall in travel and tourism.