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Jobs at Premier Inn at risk as coronavirus hits hotel stays

PUBLISHED: 07:38 22 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:10 22 September 2020

Premier Inn jobs are under threat as owner Whitbread consults over cuts due to coronavirus. Photo: Luke Powell

Premier Inn jobs are under threat as owner Whitbread consults over cuts due to coronavirus. Photo: Luke Powell

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Premier Inn owner Whitbread has warned it could axe up to 6,000 jobs as the coronavirus crisis continues to hit demand for hotel stays.

Premier Inn has eight hotels in Norfolk, four in Norwich, two in Great Yarmouth and hotels in Thetford and King’s Lynn. It also has one in Lowestoft.

Whitbread has begun consulting staff and has said it hopes the majority of the cuts can be made voluntarily.

The group said the cuts would impact 18pc of the total workforce across its hotel and restaurant brands, which also includes the Beefeater pubs and Brewers Fayre chains.

It is hoping a “significant proportion” of the job cuts will be made through voluntary redundancy and lowered contracted hours for some staff.

Whitbread said the plans come as demand is set to remain subdued in the short to medium-term and with the Government’s furlough scheme coming to an end next month.

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The job losses also come on top of cuts to reduce its head office workforce by up to a fifth.

Alison Brittain, chief executive of Whitbread, said: “With demand for travel remaining subdued, we are now having to make some very difficult decisions, and it is with great regret that today we are announcing our intention to enter into a consultation process that could result in up to 6,000 redundancies in the UK, of which it is hoped that a significant proportion can be achieved voluntarily.”

Whitbread expects the jobs to go by the end of the year.

But it said the vast majority of its 900 hotels and 350 restaurants would remain open.

It came as Whitbread revealed like-for-like sales crashed 77.6pc in the six months to August 27 after the coronavirus lockdown forced the closure of its estate.

The group said hotel sales growth has been strong since reopening, with those in UK seaside and tourist locations almost 80pc full in August as more Britons staycationed due to travel fears amid the pandemic.

But demand in London and other city centres remained under pressure, with total occupancy levels at 51% on average last month and sales still 47.3pc lower.


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