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Premier Inn warns that 6,000 jobs could go as guest numbers continue to slump

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Around 6,000 staff could lose their jobs at Whitbread, the company behind Premier Inn and Beefeater, as the company continues to see guest numbers fall since lockdown.

Despite strong demand for hotel rooms in tourist hotspots, stays in August halved and diner numbers fell by more than a third as London and other metropolitan areas struggle to bring back customers amid the pandemic.

Whitbread said that it expected demand to remain lower well into 2021 and possibly 2022.

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The brand will be hit hard when government furlough ends next month, with 27,000 Whitbread staff benefitting from the scheme.

Furlough will end on October 31, shortly before the Whitbread’s 45-day consultation period will be completed for workers put on notice of redundancy.

Whitbread boss Alison Brittain said the company was hoping to avoid compulsory redundancies.

She said: “With demand for travel remaining subdued, we are now having to make some very difficult decisions, and it is with great regret that today we are announcing our intention to enter into a consultation process that could result in up to 6,000 redundancies in the UK, of which it is hoped that a significant proportion can be achieved voluntarily.”

Whitbread said it had lost more than three quarters of its sales when hotels and restaurants were forced to close because of the coronavirus lockdown.

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Zoe Monk

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