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Up to 6,000 jobs are being axed at Premier Inn owner Whitbread as the group warned the coronavirus crisis will continue to hammer demand.
It is hoping a « significant proportion » of the job cuts will be made through voluntary redundancy and lowered contracted hours for some staff.
« With market demand expected to remain at lower levels in the short to medium-term, we have now taken the very difficult decision to announce our intention to enter into consultation on proposals that could result in up to 6,000 redundancies for our hotel and restaurant colleagues, » the firm said in a statement to the stock market.
« We expect a significant proportion of these redundancies to be achieved voluntarily. Our priority now is to ensure that the process is fair and that impacted colleagues are supported throughout. »
It added: « This is a regrettable but necessary step to ensure that we emerge from the crisis with a lower cost base, a more flexible operating model and a stronger more resilient business. »
Whitbread said, since reopening, demand was strong in seaside and tourist locations in the UK, with hotels almost 80% full during August.
But demand remained subdued across the rest of the hotel market, particularly in London and metropolitan areas as international tourists stayed home.
Across all its UK hotels, occupancy levels improved steadlily oafter reopening, averaging 51% in August, but sales were still down 47.3%, compared to the year before.
Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain 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. »