18/07/20 - Redundancies Soar as Workers Pay for Covid-19

Covid Redunancies FBThousands of jobs are at risk as a wave of household names – including Upper Crust, EasyJet, Boots, John Lewis and Harrods – announce redundancy plans. Numerous retailers have called in administrators.

The gradual increase in employer contributions under the furlough scheme will be a “trigger” for further redundancies.

The job slaughter has already begun.

  • 5,000 jobs will be lost at SSP Group, which owns the Upper Crust fast-food brand. The job losses could affect up to 55% of its workforce, including those in head office roles.
  • John Lewis has announced it will close eight of its stores and place 1,300 jobs at risk of redundancy.
  • Harrods is looking to reduce its workforce of 4,800 by up to 14%
  • At Boots, 4,000 posts will be axed – seven percent of its workforce.
  • Arcadia, which owns Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Burton and Dorothy Perkins among others, has announced plans to cut 500 of 2,500 head office roles.
  • Ryanair, EasyJet and British Airways have a combined total of 20,000 jobs at risk.

Unite chief Len McCluskey said: "Redundancy notices are already flying around like confetti".

Yet more redundancies are on the cards. Burger King UK's boss also warned more than 50 of its 530 UK branches could shut, putting up to 1,600 jobs at risk.

Some firms are closing shops completely. Last month TM Lewin, a brand with a 120-year history, shut all its UK shops resulting in 600 job losses.

Casual Dining Group entered administration recently, costing 1,900 jobs at Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge, and Las Iguanas.

Mr. Sunak's mini-budget announced that employers will get a bonus if they re-employed furloughed workers for at least six months.

To get the bonus, bosses must pay each worker at least £520 per month on average, and continuously employ them through to January 31.

Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity union said: "I would have liked to see more targeted support in hard-pressed sectors such as retail and travel and a more flexible approach to furlough. I fear that employers may choose to wait until early next year to claim their bonus from the taxpayer and then sack their staff - or may not see £1,000 as enough of an incentive to employ someone until January at all and make them redundant now."

"Our union, Solidarity, has been dealing with many redundancy cases. We make sure that our members are treated fairly and that all alternatives to redundancy are fully explored."

Solidarity offers a fee-based service for those who are currently not union members who face problems at work. More information is available here: