Sunday, June 13

COVID-19: Mitchells & Butlers reveals 1,300 workers made redundant – Sky News

Pub and bar operator Mitchells & Butlers has revealed that 1,300 staff have been made redundant as the COVID-19 crisis bites.

The group behind chains including Harvester, All Bar One and Toby Carvery made the announcement as it slumped to a pre-tax loss of £123m for the year to 26 September, compared to a profit of £177m a year ago.

It adds to big cuts already announced by rivals, with Greene King axing 800 employees while Fuller’s has made 350 redundant and Marston’s is shedding more than 2,000 workers.

Mitchells & Butlers had revealed earlier this year that it was consulting on job cuts and closing 20 pubs and restaurants but until now has not said how many roles would be affected.

The disclosure comes as a letter from more than 50 pub and brewing businesses to the prime minister claims that the industry is being “scapegoated” by latest restrictions.

It claims the sector, employing hundreds of thousands of people, faces “exceptionally harsh and unjustified treatment” with tight rules in place especially for drink-led pubs despite people being allowed to mix in homes over Christmas.

The letter calls for evidence justifying the measures to be published and for grants of up to £12,000 each to be given to pubs to help them survive.

Upturned stools are seen on a table inside the Butchers Hook & Cleaver pub, owned by Fuller's, in London, Britain, July 3, 2020

Pubs have been forced to close due to coronavirus restrictions

Mitchells & Butlers employs about 44,000 people at 1,700 sites across the UK.

The company said 99% of the workforce was furloughed during lockdown earlier this year, benefiting from £165m of government support to pay their wages.

But the group added: “Despite our best efforts to protect as many jobs as we can, we have had to make c.1,300 redundancies following the end of the financial period.

“The reduced levels of activity and closure of a small number of our sites meant that we could no longer support these roles.”

The company reported a 34% slump in revenue for the year largely due to coronavirus restrictions while its bottom line profit figure was also affected by a £93m hit relating to writedown of the value its properties.

It said the future was “both challenging and highly uncertain” and dependent on restrictions imposed on the hospitality sector.

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The state of the UK’s pandemic-hit economy

However chief executive Phil Urban said the group was in a “strong position to benefit when consumers are able to eat out again”.

The annual results came on the same day as Fuller’s reported a loss of £23m for the half-year to 26 September, down from a £14.2m profit a year earlier, as revenues fell by 73% to £45.6m.

Chief executive Simon Emeny said the roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine was “excellent news for the future” but sounded a note of caution about coming months.

Mr Emeny said: “We are optimistic about the future in the medium term and beyond, but there is no doubt that this will be a tough winter and a very different looking Christmas.”

Fuller’s revealed that the size of its overall workforce had fallen by 20%, or about 990 jobs, since the beginning of the financial year.

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