Greene King to close 79 pubs and axe 800 jobs as curfew hits industry

GREENE King is planning to close 79 pubs and restaurants in a move it blamed on the government's 10pm entertainment curfew.

The boozer has confirmed 26 sites will permanently shut, while a further 53 will temporarily close with their future remaining in the balance.

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It's thought 11 Loch Fyne restaurants are part of the venue closures mooted by Greene King.

Around 800 staff across the 79 sites are now in consultation with the chain about being made redundant, although it's hoped further staff will be redeployed.

Greene King has more than 1,000 pubs across the UK and employs 38,000 staff.

The chain blames the news on the introduction of a 10pm curfew that means boozers and restaurants have to close doors earlier than usual.

What are my redundancy rights?

BEFORE making you unemployed, your employer should still carry out a fair redundancy process.

You are entitled to be consulted on the redundancy lay-off first and to receive a statutory redundancy payment, as long as you've been working somewhere for at least two years.

How much you're entitled to depends on your age and length of service, although this is capped at 20 years. You'll get:

  • Half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22,
  • One week’s pay for each full year you were 22 or older, but under 41,
  • One and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 or older.

Sadly, you won't be entitled to a payout if you've been working for your employer for fewer than two years.

There should be a period of collective consultation as well as time for individual ones if your employer wants to make 20 or more employees redundant within 90 days or each other.

You are also entitled to appeal the decision by claiming unfair dismissal within three months of being let go.

The government crackdown is designed to curb the spread of coronavirus as cases continue to soar.

The UK-wide seven-day average rate stands at 125.7 cases per 100,000, up from 63.8 a week ago.

While in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is set to announce a two-week "circuit-breaker" lockdown with pubs and restaurants shutting as soon as this weekend.

Pubs in England were forced to close their doors back in March as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

They were only allowed to reopen again from July 4 in England – as long as they followed coronavirus safety measures. Reopenings in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales varied as coronavirus is a devolved issue.

 

At the time, Greene King showed The Sun around its new look bars, which can only operate at 60% capacity due to social distancing.

Greene King is the latest chain to announce job cuts after struggling with the coronavirus.

In September, Wetherspoon's announced plans to cut 350 jobs from its six airport pubs.

The company has already announced it plans on axing 130 head office roles following the coronavirus crisis.

Meanwhile, rival company Whitbread, which owns Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Premier Inn, announced plans to cut 6,000 jobs.

And Costa Coffee is planning to chop 1,650 jobs – around 10% of its workforce. 

Pret a Manger is also cutting 2,800 jobs and closing 30 shops. 

Prices at hospitality venues have been slashed by up to 28% following a VAT holiday announced by the chancellor Rishi Sunak in July.

The temporary break sees VAT cut down from 20% to 5% to help the two of the industries worst hit by the coronavirus crisis bounce back.

It was due to end on January 31, 2020 but Mr Sunak later extended it until 31 March, 2020.

A spokesperson for Greene King said: “The continued tightening of the trading restrictions for pubs, which may last another six months, along with the changes to government support was always going to make it a challenge to reopen some of our pubs.

"Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to close 26 sites permanently and not reopen a further 53 pubs for now. We are working hard with our teams to try and find them a role in another of our pubs wherever possible.

“We urgently need the government to step in and provide tailored support to help the sector get through to the spring and prevent further pub closures and job losses.”

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