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Coronavirus job loss toll rising

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Written by: Emma Lunn
01/07/2020
Airbus, TM Lewin and SSP Group have all announced job cuts in the past 24 hours.

The toll of Covid-related job losses is steadily rising as more companies announce redundancies and restructuring plans.

The job cuts come as a new phase of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme begins. From today companies will be able to bring back furloughed employees to work a flexible pattern, while the level of Government support will start decreasing in August.

Airbus

Plane-maker Airbus has announced that it’s cutting 15,000 roles worldwide, including about 7,500 of its 13,500-strong UK workforce.

The French-based company currently employs 134,000 people worldwide but says the jobs have to go due to an “unprecedented crisis” in the industry.

The UK job cuts will be at major sites at Broughton in North Wales and Filton in Bristol.

The move is subject to talks with unions which have opposed compulsory redundancies. Unite said the Airbus announcement was “another act of industrial vandalism” against the UK aerospace sector.

SSP Group

SSP Group, which owns train station and airport food outlets Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza, could cut up to 5,000 jobs in the UK.

A memo sent to staff outlined a need to “reshape” the business following the impact of lockdown and travel restrictions.

The group currently employs about 9,000 people in the UK – so the job losses would account for more than half its workforce and would come from both salaried staff in head office and hourly paid staff in outlets at transport hubs.

John Lewis

In another blow to the high street, John Lewis has confirmed it is to close a number of its shops

In a letter to staff, John Lewis chairperson Sharon White also said one of its London offices will shut down and the annual bonus paid to all staff may be scrapped.

Which stores will close, and the associated job cuts, are not yet confirmed. More information is due in mid-July.

The department store previously furloughed about 14,000 workers.

Harrods

About 700 jobs – about 14% of the 4,800-strong workforce – are set to go from luxury store Harrods.

In a memo to staff, chief executive Michael Ward blamed the cuts on social distancing and lack of international travellers, saying the move was necessary to “aid our recovery in the short-term, but also to protect the business in the longer term”.

Harrods reopened in June but Ward said: “While early signs since re-opening are optimistic, this recovery will take longer than any of us would like.”

TM Lewin

Shirtmaker TM Lewin has announced it will permanently shut its entire store estate after struggling to pay rent on its shops.

All TM Lewin’s shops have been closed since lockdown began in March.

TM Lewin was bought by London-based private equity firm SCP, via its subsidiary acquisition vehicle Torque Brands, in May from its previous owner Bain Capital.

Torque Brands have bought back TM Lewin’s assets in a pre-pack deal. But the 66 TM Lewin stores are not included in the agreement, meaning 600 to 700 job losses.

Harveys and Bensons for Beds

Harveys furniture chain has collapsed into administration with the immediate loss of 240 jobs, and a further 1,300 others at risk.

The owner of the brands, Blue Group, says it has saved nearly 2,000 jobs with a restructuring plan.

The group  currently employs about 3,000 people in total.

This week has also seen EasyJet announcing the closure of three of its hubs, putting 727 pilots at risk of redundancy, and burger chain Byron on the brink of collapse.

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