Companies making redundancies in the UK in 2020 – including John Lewis, easyJet and Jaguar Land Rover

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Thousands of people in Britain are set to lose their jobs after a raft of companies announced plans to reduce the size of their workforce.

Businesses in all sectors are struggling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic but retail and aerospace are being hit particularly hard.

Many firms across the UK have fallen into administration in 2020, while others are balancing on a knife-edge – many of which are being propped up by the government’s job retention scheme.

The programme is currently paying 80 per cent of the wages for nine million workers in the UK, but is moving to a flexible model this month.

The scheme will end permanently on October 31 – a time when more redundancies are likely.

But which companies are already making the decision to cut jobs?

BusinessLive has taken a look at the firms which have made redundancy announcements so far.

easyJet


The budget airline is closing regional hubs in Newcastle, London Stansted and London Southend.

It has been reported the move will result in 5,000 jobs losses – including more than 700 pilot roles – across the three sites, however, it said that the airports would remain part of easyJet’s route network.

The firm said it needed to reduce staff numbers by up to 30 per cent and has started a formal consultation with its employee representatives over proposals to potentially cease basing crew and aircraft at the three hubs.

Next

The original plans would have seen Next close its Kingsway Retail Park store
A Next store

The Next store chain is planning to make redundancies at its national head office.

The £4.2 billion turnover group was forced to close all its stores when the lockdown was imposed, and revised potential lost revenues for the year from between £400million and £1 billion in March to between £1.2billion and £1.6billion in April.

Even as shops reopen, it expects to see 40 per cent fewer sales over the year.

A spokesman for the FTSE 100 company said that some 150 staff were under consultation at its national headquarters in Enderby, Leicestershire.

The consultation will run until the middle of August when, the spokesman said, around 75 jobs could go.

Airbus

An Airbus A350 aircraft

Airbus is to axe 1,700 jobs in the UK as part of global restructure due to reduced production levels.

Chief Executive Guillaume Faury warned the aerospace giant was planning for a two-year drop of 40 per cent in jetliner output because of the coronavirus pandemic and that restructuring was needed.

Meetings with unions in Europe have started and the cuts due at individual sites will be announced in the coming days.

John Lewis

John Lewis in Cribbs Causeway

The retail giant is planning to close stores, make redundancies and scrap its bonus, it has been reported.

New chairman Sharon White reportedly sent a bombshell letter to staff, warning of potential closures as well as job losses.

According to the Evening Standard, Mrs White’s letter to staff of the partnership, which includes Waitrose, said “it is likely that there will implications for some Partners’ jobs”.

It is not known yet how many roles could be affected.

Vispring

A high-end Vispring bed

Luxury bedmaker Vispring, which is favoured among celebrities such as David and Victoria Beckham, is expected to make redundancies at its large Plymouth factory.

Union bosses said staff at the large plant in the Ernesettle area of the city, where about 230 people are employed, have been written to and told job losses are likely.

It is understood the firm, which mothballed its operation during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown has suffered from falling orders for its bespoke, high-end mattresses and divans.

Genting Casino

Genting Casino’s under-threat Torquay casino

Gambling firm Genting Casino is considering closing three of its outlets with job losses across its remaining 29 sites across the UK, union bosses say.

The company has written to workers outlining its plans as it battles losses caused by having to shut its sites during the coronavirus lockdown.

It is understood three casinos – in Torquay, Bristol and possibly in Margate – are potentially to close permanently, and an undisclosed number of jobs will be lost across all the business’ 32 venues.

Britannia’s Adelphi Hotel


Almost half of jobs at Britannia Hotels’ Adelphi in Liverpool could be axed in a move described by union officials as a “hammer blow”.

The hotel chain is planning to cut 83 of the 178 staff currently employed at the historic city centre site.

The move is understood to be in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on the industry, although union RMT said “firm details” about the decision are yet to be released.

SSP


Uppercrust and Ritazza owner SSP has announced plans to shed up to around 5,000 jobs as a result of plunging passengers numbers at transport hubs.

The group, which also owns a number of brands while running travel sites for other big names, warned it expects to open only around a fifth of its sites in the UK by the autumn as travel is set to remain at very low levels amid the Covid-19 crisis.

It has launched a consultation on a restructure to “simplify and reshape” the business in the face of the pandemic, which it said could lead to more than half of its 9,000-strong peak season workforce being axed.

The group said head office and UK staff would be affected by the cuts.

Virgin Money


The bank is axing 300 jobs, closing 22 branches and merging 30 more as part of a restructure programme.

The Newcastle-headquartered bank had previously announced plans to cut 500 jobs and close or merge 52 branches across the country, but the programme was suspended as it dealt with the Covid-19 outbreak.

Now the firm will restart its shake-up in August – but said the immediate job cuts are 200 fewer than those previously announced, due to changes made in response to the pandemic.

It will also offer staff affected by branch closures the option to remain with the group until October 20, to help offer support to vulnerable customers.

Harrods


Harrods is reportedly planning to make 700 employees redundant.

According to Retail Gazette, in an email circulated to the company’s staff, chief executive Michael Ward said 680 jobs out of its 4800-strong workforce would go.

Ward reportedly said the job cuts would come “in parts of the business that have been most affected by the challenges of lockdown.”

TM Lewin

Shirtmaker TM Lewin is to close all of its UK stores and around 600 workers will lose their jobs at the firm after it said it was going online-only in a bid to save the 120-year-old brand.

The retailer had recently been bought by Stonebridge Private Equity through its subsidiary Torque Brands, with the new owner saying that the future of the entire retail sector was facing a “very real threat.”

Clarks

Clarks is the latest retailer to close stores due to the coronavirus outbreak
Clarks is the latest retailer to close stores due to the coronavirus outbreak

Shoe retailer Clarks is planning to cut hundreds of office jobs as part of a major shake-up.

The 195-year-old high street retailer announced 160 redundancies globally in May, including 108 job losses at its headquarters in Street, Somerset.

The retailer said it expects roughly 700 employees to leave the business over the next 18 months, after creating 200 new roles.

Clarks, which trades from around 345 stores in the UK, said the move is intended to help the company operate in a “lean, effective and quick manner”.

Mulberry


Fashion business Mulberry is planning to cut around 25 per cent of its global workforce as it battles with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business.

The Somerset-headquartered firm has launched a consultation on plans to reduce its workforce of around 1,500 staff by a quarter.

Thierry Andretta, Mulberry’s chief executive, said: “In spite of the good performance of our sector leading digital and omni-channel platform, and our global network of digital concessions, the shutting of all our physical stores has had, and will continue to have, a marked effect on our business.”

Shoe Zone

Shoe Zone has had a “difficult year”

Discount footwear chain Shoe Zone stores has decided to close 20 stores. It has also carried out a redundancy programme at its Leicester head office.

The business said a double whammy of lockdown and supply chain disruption had pushed it into the red for the last six months.

The chain, which has 3,500 staff, was suffering the effects of the coronavirus even before the lockdown was imposed as shoppers stayed at home.

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Accenture

The management consultancy firm is reportedly axing 900 jobs in the UK

According to the Guardian, the UK job cuts will be at all levels, including managing directors, and across all parts of the business.

Consultation will reportedly start in the middle of July, with between 700 and 900 people to leave the business by September.

Accenture employs 11,000 people in Britain.

Arcadia Group

A Topshop and Topman store in Liverpool

The fashion group which includes Topshop ad Dorothy Perkins is reportedly axing 500 head office jobs.

The company told Reuters: “Due to the impact of Covid-19 on our business including the closure for over three months of all our stores and head offices, we have today informed staff of the need to restructure our head offices.”

The group, which is owned by retail tycoon Sir Philip Green, reportedly said the cuts were essential in “very challenging times”.

Gregory Distribution

Gregory Distribution

The Devon-based company is to make 100 workers redundant from its workforce of 2,700.

The distribution, storage and logistics company, which celebrated its centenary year in 2019, has seen a “significant” reduction in work from the effects of lockdown on it and the economy.

British Airways

British Airways
British Airways

The airline is set to make up to 12,000 people redundant. It revealed it was telling trade unions about a restructuring and redundancy scheme after global passenger numbers fell amid lockdowns and stay-at-home orders around the world.

Parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) said revenues for the first quarter fell 13 per cent to £4billion.

BA employs some 42,000 people around the world.

Royal Mail

Royal Mail

Around 2,000 management jobs at being axed at Royal Mail as it looks to slash costs in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

The group said the job cuts come as part of a management overhaul under plans to save £330 million over the next two years.

The cull will affect some of its 9,700 managers, with senior executive and non-operational roles hardest hit.

Ryanair

A Ryanair Boeing 737 in flight. The airline expects to grow its operations at Birmingham Airport by 25 per cent
A Ryanair Boeing 737 in flight

Pilots at Ryanair have reportedly agreed to take a 20 per cent pay cut in an effort to avoid around 3,000 job cuts at the airline.

According to the Guardian, pilots’ union Balpa said 96 per cent of the airline’s members had voted to accept the deal to avoid job losses.

The deal was announced only hours after chief executive Michael O’Leary reportedly said 3,000 jobs could be saved if staff took pay cuts.

The agreement with Ryanair’s pilots saves 260 jobs (of a total of 330 pilot roles) that were under threat, according to the Guardian.

Ryanair is reportedly still in discussions with cabin crew and other staff.

Rolls-Royce

Investment in Rolls-Royce's defence site in Derby was one of three projects examined by the National Audit Office

Engineering giant Rolls-Royce has confirmed that around 3,000 UK jobs will go after opening a “voluntary severance” scheme.

It estimates that around 1,500 jobs will go at Derby and a smaller site in Nottinghamshire this year.

In May, the company announced it was slashing 9,000 jobs from its global workforce of 52,000 due to a dramatic slump in the aviation industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, 700 jobs will go at the company’s Renfrewshire plant in Scotland and it will also be cutting 50 jobs from its Washington, Tyne and Wear plant.

British Engines

More than 200 jobs are to be cut at a Newcastle engineering group after the coronvirus lockdown hit demand for its services.

British Engines has opened consultations over 225 redundancies, saying it has seen a drop in demand that it expects to last for the foreseeable future.

The group – which is approaching its centenary – employs around 1,500 people at a number of companies around the North East.

Bentley Motors

Bentley Motors in Crewe
Bentley Motors in Crewe

Bentley Motors is set to make hundreds of compulsory redundancies after employees failed to come forward for a voluntary release programme.

The luxury car manufacturer is looking to axe 1,000 workers which accounts for up to 25 per cent of its workforce.

The company had originally hoped to achieve the majority of the redundancies through a voluntary release programme, but it has now confirmed it is ‘some way short’ of its target.

The car-giant has launched a 60-day compulsory redundancy consultation with staff. It expects to axe 300 contractors and 700 permanent staff.

Jaguar Land Rover

The Jaguar Land Rover plant in Halewood

Hundreds of staff at J aguar Land Rover’s Halewood plant are to be made redundant after the car manufacturer announced significant changes to its factory shift pattern.

The firm said the move from a ‘three-shift’ to ‘two-shift’ pattern will mean around 10 per cent of its Halewood workforce – which includes 4,000 employed directly at the Merseyside factory, and 500 agency staff – will be impacted.

The firm has said the change will bring “significant operating efficiencies”, and that it is offering an “enhanced voluntary redundancy programme” to its workers. The changes will be fully implemented in spring.

BBC


The BBC has said it needs to save £25million by the end of March 2022 and is planning to cut around 450 jobs in England.

The broadcaster said it had already had to make savings of £800million before Covid-19 struck. It said the pandemic has added a further £125million to that savings total.

“No part of the BBC is immune to this savings challenge and other areas of the BBC are further ahead in terms of making savings than we are and their targets are just as difficult,” it said.


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