THOUSANDS of jobs have been “axed” in the past 24-hours as businesses fight to survive after the coronavirus lockdown.
More than 12,000 jobs have been put at risk since yesterday from firms including Upper Crust, easyJet and Airbus.
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Today there are fresh fears for John Lewis workers after reports that the retailer is planning to axe a number of branches, jobs and bonuses, while Harrods is looking to get rid of 680 team members.
Banking group Virgin Money, which also owns Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, has said it will cut 300 jobs, and Topshop owner Arcadia is looking to slash 500 office jobs.
It’s the biggest day of coronavirus job losses so far – the announcements come on top of those already made companies, such as Oasis and Warehouse, Cath Kidston and Clarks.
Last month Mr Johnson warned that “there will tragically be many, many job losses” as a result of the nationwide shut down.
Shocking stats from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that at least 600,000 workers have already lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic lockdown.
Experts predict that it’s going to get worse with up to two million workers expected to become unemployed over the next few months as the true impact of the Covid-19 outbreak is revealed.
The Treasury forecasts 10 per cent unemployment and company closures when the furlough scheme finally comes to and end in the autumn, while a poll of businesses owners predicts that a quarter of furloughed workers are likely to lose their jobs.
From today, employers can bring back furloughed staff part-time but from August they will be expected to pay their National Insurance and pensions contributions.
Harveys Furniture left staff stunned yesterday when they were told the company had gone into administration, a day after being brought back from furlough.
The measures resulted in 240 immediate job losses, with over a thousand more to follow if the 20 stores at risk of closure shut.
Many firms which survived the lockdown have also been forced to slash their workforces to remain viable.
SSP Group announced up to 5,000 jobs were at risk at its hospitality brands Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza as the restaurant industry looks to reopen on Saturday but under restricted circumstances.
The group employs 9,000 workers during peak season but it doesn’t expect sales to recover as footfall at airports, train stations and motorway service stations is still far below pre-lockdown levels.
Yesterday, easyJet said it was to close its hubs at Standsted, Southend and Newcastle airports in another blow to the travel industry.
The devastating move will see 4,500 airline workers lose their jobs, while it admitted that the rest of its UK network is “under review”.
Pilots union BALPA said 727 cockpit crew faced the axe – around one in three of easyJet’s 2,300 pilots in the UK.
On Tuesday, Airbus also said it will slash 1,700 jobs in the UK and 15,000 jobs worldwide.
Airbus has two factories in the UK, one in Broughton in north Wales, where wings are manufactured, and another factory at Filton in Bristol which is where cuts will take place.
It expects to make these cuts by summer 2021, but hopes the majority of redundancies will be voluntary or through early retirement of staff.
Around 600 TM Lewin workers are to lose their jobs after the shirt-maker announced this morning that it will close all 66 of its UK shops.
It comes on the same day that Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will “revive the high street” by enabling town centres to change empty shops into homes, cafes or offices, without planning permission.
Since March, scores of retailers have gone bust or had to permanently close shops as they struggle to pay rents.
But Unite union reckons that up to a third of the UK’s 3.2million hospitality jobs could be slashed as punters work out new ways of socialising in a world infected by coronavirus.
Companies can’t just make you redundant overnight – there’s a formal process they must follow before letting you go.
Under employment laws, you have to be given your statutory notice period before asking you to leave the company.
If you’ve been employed at the company for between one month and two years, you must be given at least a week’s notice.
Members of staff who’ve worked for the firm for longer than two years but fewer than 12 years require one weeks’ notice for every year of employment.
There must also be a consultation period before you’re put out of work, and if you’ve been employed there for more than two years you are entitled to a payout.
TM Lewis said that the job losses are “regrettable” and a direct result of lockdown.
An EasyJet spokesperson said that it is a difficult time for the industry as a whole and added: “Unfortunately the lower demand environment means we need fewer aircraft and have less opportunity for work for our people.”
A spokesperson for Airbus said: “The information and consultation process with social partners has begun with a view to reaching agreements for implementation starting in autumn 2020.”
SSP Group and Harveys Furniture have been contacted for comment.
If you’re one of the unlucky workers already laid off, The Sun is here to help.
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