Redundancy advice calls triple as furlough scheme winds down

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Citizens Advice had the highest daily number of visitors to its website topped four times in one week

Thousands of firms and employees are seeking redundancy advice as the coronavirus crisis continues to bite into the UK economy.

Conciliation service Acas said calls to its redundancy advice line almost tripled in June and July, as concerns mounted about the government’s job retention scheme winding down.

There has been a spate of redundancies as some firms struggle to stay afloat.

Nearly 4,500 jobs have been cut only a few days into August.

In June and July, calls to the Acas helpline to talk about redundancy rose nearly 170% compared with the same months last year, from more than 12,000 to more than 33,000 calls.

In July, Citizens Advice said it had also seen a surge in demand for redundancy advice.

Acas chief executive Susan Clews said: “At the moment, nearly a third of calls to our helpline are redundancy-related.

“The economic impact of coronavirus, alongside fears around the furlough scheme tapering off, has left many employers and their staff concerned about their future livelihoods.”

The latest figures from the government show 9.6 million jobs – about a third of the private sector workforce – have been furloughed during the pandemic, at a cost of £33.8bn to the Treasury.

Businesses began to pay towards the furlough scheme from the beginning of August, putting more pressure on struggling firms. The scheme ends in October.

Acas recommended that employers should look for alternatives to redundancies, which should be used as a last resort.

These alternatives include consulting staff “on ideas that can help mitigate the financial difficulties that the business may be facing due to coronavirus”, such as:

  • recruitment freezes
  • limits on overtime
  • more flexible working to cut down on office costs
  • moving employees into other roles.

A number of major employers have announced job cuts since strict coronavirus lockdown rules were announced on 23 March.

According to the Press Association news agency, these include:

August 4: Dixons Carphone – 800

August 4: Pizza Express – 1,100 at risk

August 3: Hays Travel – up to 878

August 3: DW Sports – 1,700 at risk

July 31: Byron – 651

July 30: Pendragon – 1,800

July 29: Waterstones – unknown number of head office roles

July 28: Selfridges – 450

July 27: Oak Furnitureland – 163 at risk

July 23: Dyson – 600 in UK, 300 overseas

July 22: Mears – fewer than 200

July 20: Marks & Spencer – 950 at risk

July 17: Azzurri Group (owns Zizzi and Ask Italian) – up to 1,200

July 16: Genting – 1,642 at risk

July 16: Burberry – 150 in UK, 350 overseas

July 15: Banks Mining – 250 at risk

July 15: Buzz Bingo – 573 at risk

July 14: Vertu – 345

July 14: DFS – up to 200 at risk

July 9: General Electric – 369

July 9: Eurostar – unknown number

July 9: Boots – 4,000

July 9: John Lewis – 1,300 at risk

July 9: Burger King – 1,600 at risk

July 7: Reach (owns Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers) – 550

July 6: Pret a Manger – 1,000 at risk

July 2: Casual Dining Group (owns Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge) – 1,909

July 1: SSP (owns Upper Crust) – 5,000 at risk

July 1: Arcadia (owns TopShop) – 500

July 1: Harrods – 700

July 1: Virgin Money – 300

June 30: Airbus – 1,700

June 30: TM Lewin – 600

June 30: Smiths Group – “some job losses”

June 25: Royal Mail – 2,000

June 24: Jet2 – 102

June 24: Swissport – 4,556

June 24: Crest Nicholson – 130

June 23: Shoe Zone – unknown number of jobs in head office

June 19: Aer Lingus – 500

June 17: HSBC – unknown number of jobs in UK, 35,000 worldwide

June 15: Jaguar Land Rover – 1,100

June 15: Travis Perkins – 2,500

June 12: Le Pain Quotidien – 200

June 11: Heathrow – at least 500

June 11: Bombardier – 600

June 11: Johnson Matthey – 2,500

June 11: Centrica – 5,000

June 10: Quiz – 93

June 10: The Restaurant Group (owns Frankie and Benny’s) – 3,000

June 10: Monsoon Accessorise – 545

June 10: Everest Windows – 188

June 8: BP – 10,000 worldwide

June 8: Mulberry – 375

June 5: Victoria’s Secret – 800 at risk

June 5: Bentley – 1,000

June 4: Aston Martin – 500

June 4: Lookers – 1,500

May 29: Belfast International Airport – 45

May 28: Debenhams (in second announcement) – “hundreds” of jobs

May 28: EasyJet – 4,500 worldwide

May 26: McLaren – 1,200

May 22: Carluccio’s – 1,000

May 21: Clarks – 900

May 20: Rolls-Royce – 9,000

May 20: Bovis Homes – unknown number

May 19: Ovo Energy – 2,600

May 19: Antler – 164

May 15: JCB – 950 at risk

May 13: Tui – 8,000 worldwide

May 12: Carnival UK (owns P&O Cruises and Cunard) – 450

May 11: P&O Ferries – 1,100 worldwide

May 5: Virgin Atlantic – 3,150

May 1: Ryanair – 3,000 worldwide

April 30: Oasis Warehouse – 1,800

April 29: WPP – unknown number

April 28: British Airways – up to 12,000

April 23: Safran Seats – 400

April 23: Meggitt – 1,800 worldwide

April 21: Cath Kidston – 900

April 17: Debenhams – 422

March 31: Laura Ashley – 268

March 30: BrightHouse – 2,400 at risk

March 27: Chiquito – 1,500 at risk.

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