Fuller’s pub chain says home working could cost one in 10 jobs
The boss of the pub chain Fuller’s has told the BBC he may have to lay off up to 10% of his staff – about 500 people. The government’s decision to encourage people to work from home will hit his firm’s city-centre pubs, Simon Emeny told 5live, leading to job losses.
“We are doing everything possible to minimise that, but sadly it is inevitable,” he said.
The warning follows other similar ones from JD Wetherspoon, Premier Inn and Beefeater owner Whitbread and Greggs.
Mr Emeny also criticised the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants as “illogical” and “ill-conceived”.
Fuller’s owns about 400 pubs and hotels in the UK, with many in the capital. It employs almost 5,000 people in its managed pubs and hotels.
“The biggest challenge we have around job losses is in central London, because the current Prime Minister’s announcement last week to discourage people from going back to the office is having a big impact on city centres and in particular Central London,” he said.
He said he and his management team are still working out how many staff will have to be made redundant, “but it will be at least 10%”.
Of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he said, “I don’t think he’s had a good few months.”
“There are elements of the Prime Minister’s job that I don’t envy him but I also think there are significant elements where he has made continual mistakes and we have seen the government do u-turns on five or six key decisions,” he said.
“In a business environment, his style of leadership wouldn’t work.”
It sold its brewing business to Japan’s biggest brewer Asahi last year.
The company said the £250m deal would preserve the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, west London, where beer has been brewed since 1654.
It left the company to focus on its hotels and pubs business, which generated most of its profits.
Last week Whitbread, which owns Premier Inn and Beefeater, has warned that 6,000 staff could lose their jobs.
The company blamed the cuts on a slump in hotel guest numbers since lockdown.
Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has warned its 1,000 staff who work at airport venues that almost half of them could lose their jobs because of the dramatic fall in travel and tourism.
And staff at around half of Greggs’ stores will have to accept fewer hours or face losing their jobs as the government’s furlough scheme comes to an end.
The bakery chain, which employs 25,000 workers, expects business activity to “remain below normal for the foreseeable future”.