Gambling giant Genting Casino has called putting more than 1,600 UK staff at risk of redundancy a “heart-breaking” decision but stressed it was unavoidable.
The company has been hit by the closure of sites during the coronavirus lockdown and its casinos remain shut to customers despite a raft of hospitality venues, such as pubs and restaurants, reopening earlier in July, as the sector continues to await the green light from the Government to reopen.
The company confirmed that 1,642 UK employees are at now at risk of redundancy as part of an ongoing consultation process.
But in a statement to Business Live the company stressed bosses said redundancies are regrettable and are intent on “mitigating job losses as much as is possible”.
Genting Casino has earmarked its Margate, Torquay and Bristol sites for possible permanent closure, while jobs are also expected to be cut across other UK locations, including in Plymouth where some staff have received letters about redundancy.
The company said the three clubs are “no longer financially viable”, with the business intending to reopen all its other sites.
Genting Casino said that a “significant number” of staff, described as being in the “hundreds”, who are at risk of redundancy are currently on furlough.
The firm said it has announced the restructuring plans after facing “unprecedented challenges and heavy losses over the past few months” due to the pandemic.
The company said: “Like all businesses across the leisure and hospitality sector, we have faced unprecedented challenges and heavy losses over the past few months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Despite the ongoing uncertainty in relation to when we may be able to open our doors again, we are continuing to prepare for our re-opening – albeit with significant changes being implemented to our physical premises and to our operating model.
“In light of these changes, we are having to make some heart-breaking decisions about the future of the business and it is with huge regret that job losses are simply unavoidable.
“We can confirm that 1,642 colleagues in the UK have been put at risk of redundancy, however that consultation process is ongoing and we are intent on mitigating job losses as much as is possible.
“A significant number of those at risk of redundancy will remain on furlough, and we will be doing everything we can to bring those individuals back in to the business at a later stage.
Business Live’s Plymouth journalist is William Telford, business editor at Plymouth Live.
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“The Job Retention Scheme, however, is just that and therefore when it became clear to us that a significant number of roles could likely not be retained, it was only right to begin the redundancy consultation process rather than continuing to take Government money via the furlough scheme.”
Genting Casino workers are being represented by GMB, the union for leisure and hospitality workers, which has warned that proposals to close casinos and make staff redundant are “just the start” for the nation’s leisure and hospitality sector, which is at breaking point.
The GMB union has called the Genting Casino job losses “a slap in the face” for workers and said t axpayer cash has funded Genting to the tune of millions of pounds.
Mick Rix, GMB national officer, said: “This announcement by the company is nothing short of outrageous. It’s a serious slap in the face to loyal and long serving staff – as well as UK public.
“Taxpayer’s cash has funded Genting to the tune of millions of pounds during lockdown – now they are making people redundant rather than contribute towards the Government furlough scheme from the end of August.”