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Coronavirus: Wetherspoon puts up to 450 jobs at risk at six UK airports

Lianna Brinded
·Head of Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
London Pride beer is seen for sale at a Wetherspoon pub in North London, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. A major U.K. pub chain will stop serving French Champagne and German wheat beers next month and offer more British drinks to prepare for the country's departure from the European Union. Tim Martin, the founder of the JD Wetherspoon chain and a strong advocate for Brexit, says the aim is to make the business more competitive for when Brexit becomes a reality. (AP Photo/Robert Stevens)
Some 450 jobs are at risk at Wetherspoon pubs. Photo: Robert Stevens/AP

The CEO of pub chain JD Wetherspoon (JDW.L) has announced that up to 450 jobs are at risk at a number of airports across the UK.

In a statement sent to Yahoo Finance UK, JD Wetherspoon CEO John Hutson said:

“The company has written to 1,000 people employed in its pubs at six airports (Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow) to inform them that a possible 400 to 450 positions are at risk of redundancy.

“The decision is mainly a result of a downturn in trade in these pubs, linked with the large reduction in passenger numbers using the airports.

Watch: Why have job losses risen despite the economy reopening?

READ MORE: JD Wetherspoon's Tim Martin: Pubs are safer than staying home for COVID-19

“We should emphasise that no firm decisions have been made at this stage. The company will listen to suggestions from staff to help avoid or reduce the number of compulsory redundancies which are required.

“Wetherspoon is proposing to collectively consult with employees through an employment representative committee, which will be established for this purpose.”

Britain’s pub industry has been suffering since the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has led to lockdowns and severe restrictions on health and safety as well as operating terms.

Adnams brewery CEO Andy Wood told the BBC on Tuesday that the pub industry was still “on life support” with about 900,000 jobs at risk.

READ MORE: UK economy shuffles into new rules on working from home and pub times

However, the government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Chris Witty warned on Monday that there could be 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October without further restrictions on every day life.

On Tuesday, government minister Michael Gove has encouraged the public to work from home where possible, in a “shift of emphasis” as the UK looks to curb rising coronavirus cases.

Watch: These are some of the most important moments from the COVID-19 briefing

The government is also preparing to set a new curfew for the hospitality sector, ordering pubs, restaurants, and cafes to close at 10pm local time.

Job losses are increasing as 2020 rolls on.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that employers have axed 695,000 staff since March, and Britain’s unemployment rate ticked higher to 4.1% between May and July.

The claimant count, which includes unemployed and low-paid workers receiving work-related benefits, stood at 2.7 million last month, up 120.8% since March.

According to a new survey, some 27% of UK employers are expected to make job cuts over the next 12 months while 13% say they will ask staff to take a pay cut.