Written by: Keith Tully
The impact of coronavirus is taking its toll on a growing list of large companies and major employers.
Many are beginning to announce details of job cuts as they attempt to reorganise their operations and establish themselves on a more sustainable financial footing.
The pandemic has had a massive impact on revenues and profits across the economy but millions of jobs have so far been protected and supported through the government’s furlough scheme.
However, from August, employers will be obliged to cover a certain portion of the wages of staff members who they want to keep on furlough, which is leading lots of companies to look at where they might need to make cuts in terms of employee numbers.
Among the businesses to have announced sizable job cuts in recent days are the owners of Upper Crust, the operator of hundreds of food and drinks stalls across the country, which is planning to shed 5,000 jobs in the coming weeks.
Upper Crust has seen an extremely sharp downturn in revenues since lockdown began because most of its outlets are at railway stations and airports and their footfall has declined dramatically.
Meanwhile, Airbus, the aeroplane maker, is planning to cut its UK-based workforce by around 1,700, as its managerial team grapple with a crisis affecting all parts of its global operation.
Elsewhere, a restructuring at Royal Mail will see the business cut its management roles by around a fifth, which equates to roughly 2,000 jobs being lost.
The already struggling retail sector has also been hit hard by coronavirus and the lockdown situation, with the likes of Bensons for Beds and TM Lewin having said they plan to cut hundreds of jobs.
In the case of the shirt maker TM Lewin, around 600 people are set to lose their jobs across the company’s 66 high street stores, which are all now set to close.
The airline easyJet has also made clear it intends to reduce its cabin crew employee numbers by around 1,300 and its pilot teams by more than 700.
Expectations among economists and other experts are that the UK will suffer a sharp rise in unemployment in the second half of 2020, particularly as the government’s furlough scheme tapers off and is eventually closed at the end of October.
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