Major firms shedding thousands of workers
AT least 150,000 jobs have been cut or put at risk at more than 60 major British employers during lockdown, a list compiled by the PA news agency has revealed.
The pace of redundancies has picked up in recent weeks as companies try to figure out if they can afford to take back furloughed staff.
Yesterday, Boots revealed it was planning to part ways with thousands of colleagues.
The high street pharmacy chain has said it expects to cut more than 4,000 jobs as part of action to mitigate the “significant impact” of Covid-19.
The move will affect around 7% of the company’s workforce. The restructuring will also result in the closure of 48 Boots Opticians stores.
It comes after retail sales tumbled by 48% over the past three months in the face of the pandemic, despite Boots keeping swathes of its stores open to customers.
Boots said that the cuts represent an “acceleration” of its transformation plans to improve profitably across the business. The retailer said it has invested in Boots.com during the lockdown as more customers moved online, with the company reporting a 78% increase in online sales over the quarter.
Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: “In doing this, we are building a stronger and more modern Boots for our customers, patients and colleagues.
“We recognise that today’s proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time.”
Burger King UK’s boss has warned that up to 1,600 jobs could be lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Only about 370 of the restaurant chain’s 530 UK stores have reopened since the nation went into lockdown.
The PA data shows that nearly 17,000 potential job losses have been announced so far this month, compared to just over 14,000 at the same point in June. Overall around 75,000 job losses were announced last month.
Although many jobs will have been lost as a direct result of the economic squeeze forced by the Covid19 lockdown, thousands of employees were already facing job uncertainty regardless of the pandemic.
HSBC and Virgin Money both paused their pre-Covid redundancy plans when the pandemic began and later resumed the process.
The Office for National Statistics has suggested that 600,000 UK workers lost their job in May alone, while vacancies slumped to a record low. Meanwhile, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned this week that the UK’s unemployment rate could hit as high as 14.8%.
Experts also worry that much worse could be ahead as the furlough scheme is wound down from August before it ends in October.
Rolls-Royce confirmed yesterday that 3,000 of its UK workforce have applied for voluntary redundancy as part of a previously announced plan to cut 9,000 jobs.
On Wednesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new jobs retention plan to pay a £1,000 bonus to companies who bring back staff from furlough.