The London Stock Exchange listed owners of the Frankie and Benny’s chain have confirmed that they will be shutting 125 outlets across Britain in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Restaurant Group plc, which had an operating income of almost £1.1 billion in 2019, has opted for an insolvency procedure known as a company voluntary arrangement for part of the group. The company’s chief executive said the object is to “ensure we are well positioned despite the very challenging market conditions facing the casual dining sector.”
Restaurant Group also owns other chains including Chiquito, Wagamama, Garfunkel’s and Joe’s Kitchen, among others. The owners have suggested they will be looking to axe jobs in other subsidiaries in the near future.
Responding to reports Unite national officer Dave Turnbull said: “This is more grim news for the nation’s hospitality workers who have been hit especially badly by the coronavirus crisis, and another blow to our battered high streets.
“Many of those who will lose their jobs will be young people. We need urgent action by employers and government to give the younger generation the hope of a future in work.”
“Right across the hospitality sector, there are employers who are seeking to dump their workforce or attack workers’ pay and conditions. Job losses and closures will pile up, and a great many people will be working for a pittance unless the government acts now to stop this race to the bottom and save our high streets.”
The hospitality sector has been one of the chief beneficiaries of the government’s furlough scheme. Across the industry there is now a rush to throw workers on the scrapheap before tax payer cash dries up.
The news at Frankie and Benny’s highlights the vulnerability of the increasingly monopolised hospitality sector with massive multinationals like Restaurant Group dominating the market and shedding jobs at will.
Since the pandemic began to take hold, Britain’s communists have been demanding support the for employees in the hospitality sector and the businesses they work for including:
- A nationwide ban on all layoffs and redundancies.
- Guaranteed reinstatement for all employees already laid off or made redundant.
- Fines for employers who fail to comply and damages for affected employees.
- Increased financial support for small businesses closed due to the crisis.
- Emergency legislation to force insurers to cover lost income due to the crisis backdated to 11 March 2020.
Redundancies have also been announced in high street retail in the past week with thousands of jobs going at Monsoon Accessorize, Quiz and Debenhams.
Challenge News Desk