Business

Premier Inn owner Whitbread to axe up to 6,000 jobs as pandemic hits demand

Whitbread's Bar + Block restaurant at its Belfast Cathedral Quarter hotel. Picture: Hugh Russell.
Holly Williams

UP to 6,000 jobs are being axed at Premier Inn owner Whitbread as the group warned the coronavirus crisis will continue to hammer demand.

The group, which owns nine hotels on the island of Ireland, including eight in the north, said the cuts would impact 18 per cent of the total workforce across its hotel and restaurant brands, which also includes the Beefeater pubs and Brewers Fayre chains.

It is hoping a "significant proportion" of the job cuts will be made through voluntary redundancy and lowered contracted hours for some staff.

Whitbread said the plans come as demand is set to remain subdued in the short to medium-term and with the Government's furlough scheme coming to an end next month.

The job losses also come on top of cuts to reduce its head office workforce by up to a fifth.

Alison Brittain, chief executive of Whitbread, said: "With demand for travel remaining subdued, we are now having to make some very difficult decisions, and it is with great regret that today we are announcing our intention to enter into a consultation process that could result in up to 6,000 redundancies in the UK, of which it is hoped that a significant proportion can be achieved voluntarily."

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