The head of pub chain Fuller’s has revealed at least 10 per cent of his around 5,000 staff are facing redundancy.
Simon Emeny said the government’s decision to encourage people to work from home where possible will hit Fuller’s city-centre pubs hardest and result in job losses.
“We are doing everything possible to minimise that, but sadly it is inevitable,” Emeny told BBC.
It comes after similar warnings from fellow hospitality chains, JD Wetherspoon and Whitbread and Greggs.
Emeny also criticised the introduction of a 10pm curfew as “illogical” and “ill-conceived” as the government try to reduce Covid-19 transmission.
A significant number of Fuller’s 400 pubs and hotels in the UK are based in London, where job cuts are likely to occur. The chain employs around 5,000 staff, meaning at least 500 people are likely to be let go.
“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,” Emeny said.
Although the exact number of staff set to be laid off is not yet decided, he said “it will be at least 10 per cent”.
When questioned on the performance of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Fuller’s boss 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 added.
“In a business environment, his style of leadership wouldn’t work.”
Fuller’s sold its brewing business to the Japanese brewer Asahi last year in a £250m deal. The beer is still brewed at the Griffin Brewery in west London as it has been since 1654 as part of the agreement.
The sale allowed the the company to focus on its hotel and pub business, where it had been most profitable.
Last week Whitbread, the owner of Premier Inn and Beefeater, warned that up to 6,000 jobs could be axed.
It cited a reduction in hotel guests as the major driving force behind it.
Wetherspoon has also warned that half of 1,000 staff who work at airport venues could lose their jobs due to the dramatic fall in travel.