Wetherspoon to cut up to 450 jobs out of 1,000 at six UK airports

Business

JD Wetherspoon is to cut up to half of its jobs at pubs across six UK airports.

The pub chain said it had written to its 1,000 airport staff to warn them that between 400 and 450 of their jobs are at risk of redundancy.

It comes after boss Tim Martin warned that new restrictions on the hospitality sector could wipe out pubs and restaurants.

The job cuts will take place at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports.

Less than two months ago the company announced that it was planning to make between 110 to 130 head office workers redundant.

“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,” said John Hutson, the company’s chief executive.

“We should emphasise that no firm decisions have been made at this stage,” he added, saying that Wetherspoon will listen to its staff to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies.

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

From Thursday Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants will be forced to close by 10pm under restrictions that the Prime Minister is expected to announce on Tuesday evening.

Covid-19 cases have spiked in recent weeks following a drive to get people back into restaurants in August and pushes to make office staff go back to their workplaces.

Martin, who employs 43,000 people in Wetherspoon’s pubs and hotels, told The Sunday Times such measures would be “even more devastating” for a sector hit hard by the pandemic.

Greene King chief executive Nick Mackenzie, who is responsible for staff at 2,700 hospitality businesses, told the paper the Government needed to provide further clarity and assistance.

“The sector is fighting for survival — we are already seeing pubs in areas where there are additional restrictions are performing less well, especially those in Scotland,” Mr Mackenzie said.

“New measures such as a 10pm curfew will cause further damage and hit city-centre pubs most, especially in London.”