Boris pleads with firms to hold off on job cuts

Boris pleads with firms to hold off on job cuts ‘until times get better’ as Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia group axes 500 workers, John Lewis plans to close stores and lose staff and Harrods cuts 750 roles as High Street bloodbath gathers pace

  • Boris Johnson urged employers to ‘wait for times to get better’ to make job cuts 
  • John Lewis has plans to open 30 stores but unlikely that all 50 will all open again
  • Boss Sharon White warned staff at JL and Waitrose that jobs and bonus could go 
  • Harrods is latest big name to announce hundreds of job cuts on ailing high street
  • Bensons for Beds, Harveys and TM Lewin announced layoffs and store closures  

Boris Johnson today urged firms to hold off on job cuts ‘until times get better’ after John Lewis, Harrods and Topshop announced plans to close stores and axe workers as coronavirus continues to choke Britain’s high streets. 

The Prime Minister was confronted about a growing numbers of job losses amid the pandemic during todays PMQs, insisting the Government will do ‘everything we can to assist.’ 

He implored employers to ‘keep supporting your workers with the furloughing scheme,’ adding ‘it is much better now to wait for times to get better rather than laying people off.’       

John Lewis is expected to lose stores, workers and one of its headquarters as well as jobs at its sister business Waitrose while Harrods today revealed it must slash around 700 posts.

The bad news at two of the UK’s best loved department stores came amid disaster for retailers up and down the country as TM Lewin, Harveys, Bensons for Beds and Upper Crust hit the wall and tens of thousands of jobs are at risk in the ailing airline and engineering sectors.

Sir Philip Green’s Topshop empire also today revealed redundancy plans, with the Arcadia Group poised to cut around 500 of its 2,500 head office jobs amid a restructure in face of the coronavirus crisis.  

The Prime Minister (pictured today) was confronted about a growing numbers of job losses amid the pandemic during todays PMQs, insisting the Government will do ‘everything we can to assist’

Labour MP Stephen Doughty today highlighted the number of potential job losses as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, which has had an unprecedented impact on business across Britain.     

‘The Prime Minister does not want to talk about the numbers of job losses, so let me give him some,’ he said.

‘British Airways, 12,000 jobs potentially to go, including in the Vale of Glamorgan, in Llantrisant and in Blackwood; GE, 1,400 jobs potentially to go at Nantgarw; Rolls-Royce, nearly 6,000 to go in Derby, Solihull, Glasgow, Rotherham; and, as my right honourable and learned Friend the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out, Airbus, with 1,700 jobs potentially to go in north Wales and in the south-west, affecting my own constituents.

‘Workers at those plants do not want to hear slogans. They do not want to hear bluff and bluster. They want to know from the Prime Minister what he is going to do to save those jobs in the long term.

‘They have had the furlough scheme; what is he going to do to protect them going forward?’

Sir Philip Green’s Topshop empire today revealed redundancy plans, with the Arcadia group poised to cut around 500 of its 2,500 head office jobs amid a restructure in face of the coronavirus crisis (stock image)

Department store John Lewis is expected to lose stores, workers and one of its headquarters as well as jobs at its sister business Waitrose (stock image)

Harrods (pictured, the department store) today revealed it must slash around 700 posts

Mr Johnson replied: ‘I do not wish to accuse the honourable gentleman of failing to listen to what I have been saying over the past few days, but in addition to the £120 billion of support that we have put into the economy, we have to recognise that people now are, as he says, worried about their jobs.

‘That is why we have a plan to build, build, build with a £600 billion programme of investment and to deliver jobs, jobs, jobs.

‘For sectors across the country where we need to keep young people in particular in employment we have offered, as he knows, an opportunity guarantee so that they will have either an apprenticeship, an in-work placement or the opportunity for training.’

Labour MP Bambos Charalambous highlighted the plight of struggling arts companies as he asked the PM to make money available to ensure the sector survives.      

It comes as the UK today announced a further 176 coronavirus deaths, with the official total now standing at 43,906 — but separate government figures show the UK topped the dreaded 50,000 mark a month ago. 

The lockdown has hammered UK business with John Lewis unveiling reopening plans for another 10 stores including its first in Wales and Scotland as well as the chain’s flagship shop in Oxford Street – but sources admitted it is ‘highly unlikely’ that all 50 will ever reopen again. 

John Lewis boss Sharon White, who joined from broadcasting watchdog Ofcom before the pandemic began, has written to 80,000 staff at the retailer and its supermarket Waitrose warning them that their bonus is unlikely next year as she tried to improve profits.

Harrods boss Michael Ward has also told his staff that 700 jobs will have to because of the need to cut costs.

In a memo to staff he said: ‘With a heavy-heart, today I need to confirm that due to the ongoing impacts of this pandemic, we as a business will need to make reductions to our workforce’ and said 14% of its 4,800 staff would likely lose their jobs’.

John Lewis boss Sharon White has written to staff warning that jobs, stores and the annual bonus are all under threat because of coronavirus

The lockdown has hammered UK business with John Lewis unveiling reopening plans for another 10 stores (Kingston pictured) including its first in Wales and Scotland as well as the chain’s flagship shop in Oxford Street – but sources admitted it is ‘highly unlikely’ that all 50 will ever reopen again.

Waitrose jobs could also go and staff are likely to lose out on their bonuses for the next year

Harrods boss Michael Ward has also told his staff that 700 jobs will have to because of the need to cut costs as the high street is in crisis but its Knightsbridge store (pictured in April) is safe

The grim day for retail also saw Sir Philip Green’s (pictured) Arcadia Group blame ‘very challenging times’ as it revealed plans to trim its head office operations

John Lewis was struggling before the pandemic shut down their department stores and supermarkets.

In March profits slumped by 23 per cent to £123million and the bonus paid to staff since 1953 was dropped to two per cent of salary – the lowest for more than 60 years. 

Sharon White’s letter to thousands of staff, leaked to the Evening Standard, said: ‘The difficult reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now. As difficult as it is, we now know that it is highly unlikely that we will reopen all our John Lewis stores. Regrettably, it is likely that there will implications for some Partners’ jobs. We are in active discussions with landlords about ending some leases and renegotiating others to make the terms more flexible’.

How John Lewis’ new boss is forced to wield the axe just months into the job 

Sharon White only joined John Lewis in January and has been hit by a pandemic that shut its stores and Waitrose supermarkets and now she must cut jobs, stores and bonuses.    

Ms White, 52, announced last summer she would leave her job as chief executive of Ofcom to take over from current chairman of the retailer Sir Charlie Mayfield at the beginning of next year.

Cambridge-educated Ms White had a number of senior civil servant roles at the Treasury and Ministry of Justice before she joined the media watchdog in 2015.

The 53-year-old has no formal retail experience and has been described as an ‘unlikely candidate’ by her predecessor.

She is married to Robert Chote, who is head of the Office for Budget Responsibility, with whom she has two children. The couple have been repeatedly dubbed ‘Mr and Mrs Treasury’.

The mother-of-two was even rumoured to be in the running to become the next Governor of the Bank of England, a £480,000-a-year role.

After becoming Second Permanent Secretary in 2013, The Voice named Ms White as the seventh most powerful black person in Britain.

She was born to Jamaican immigrant parents and was brought up in Leyton, east London, where she went to a state secondary school.

Ms White graduated from Cambridge with an economics degree before studying for her Master’s at University College London.

On the bonus, she said: ‘We entered the crisis with weakening profits, and we have taken a number of actions to preserve cash. Support from the Government has been a big help – they have paid most of our furlough costs and given us a holiday from business rates. Trade too has not been as bad as our worst-case scenario thanks to a lot of hard work from our Partners. However as our competitors reopen we expect trading to be tougher in the second half of the year. There is clearly a lot of uncertainty but as things stand, it is hard to see the circumstances where we will be able to pay a bonus next year. I know this will be a blow for partners who have made sacrifices these past months.’ 

John Lewis has opened 20 stores with social distancing in June and will now open ten more – raising questions about the remaining 20.

It said said shops in Basingstoke, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Chester, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Stratford and the Trafford Centre will reopen on Monday July 13.

Its Oxford Street department store will open later in the week, on July 16, as John Lewis said the size of the shop meant it needed extra time to finalise plans.

The latest raft of reopenings will take the total for the group so far to 32 since lockdown restrictions have eased for non-essential shops, with 18 remaining closed.

England was the first to allow retailers to reopen, on June 15, followed by Wales on June 23 and Scotland on June 29.

John Lewis said it will open more of its shops later in the summer, although insiders have warned previously it is ‘highly unlikely’ all 50 will ever reopen again.

The group said it was sticking to its ‘safe, not fast’ approach.

Berangere Michel, executive director for customer service at the John Lewis Partnership, added: ‘We are learning as we go and tweaking our approach to give our customers and partners the best possible experience.

‘Feedback from customers is that they really enjoy being able to test and try out products such as tablets, mattresses and shoes, all in a safe environment, as well as asking our expert partners for advice.’

John Lewis has put in place a number of social distancing measures, including cutting the number of entrances and exits, capping customers allowed in each store, protective screens at checkouts as well as new drop boxes for returned goods to be quarantined for 48 hours.

It recently said some of the stores will increase the number of customers allowed in each site at any one time after bosses found that social distancing was possible with greater crowds in bigger stores.  

The grim day for retail also saw Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group blame ‘very challenging times’ as it revealed plans to trim its head office operations.

The firm, which also owns Burton and other high street brands, said: ‘Due to the impact of Covid-19 on our business including the closure for over three months of all our stores and head offices, we have today informed staff of the need to restructure our head offices.’

‘This restructuring is essential to ensure that we operate as efficiently as possible during these very challenging times.’    

Ryanair will cut 3,500 jobs if pilots and cabin crew don’t agree to pay cuts, the airline’s owner Michael O’Leary announced today, as unions call for government help amid job losses at EasyJet and Airbus. 

Yesterday plane maker Airbus announced it will cut 1,700 jobs in the UK, while EasyJet plans to cut 4,500 roles. 

Ryanair, Europe’s biggest budget airline, said it had already cut 250 office staff around the continent, Mr O’Leary told the BBC this morning: ‘We’ve already announced about 3,500 job losses but we’re engaged in extensive negotiations with our pilots, our cabin crew and we’re asking them to all take pay cuts as an alternative to job losses.

Bensons for Beds, Harveys and TM Lewin have all announced layoffs and store closures.

Up to 3,500 jobs could go at Ryanair, unless pilots and cabin crew agree to a pay cut. The airline’s planes, above at London Southend Airport yesterday, are taking to the skies once again today with around 1,000 flights scheduled to take place  

‘We’re looking from 20% from the best paid captains, 5% from the lowest paid flight attendants and we think if we can negotiate those pay cuts by agreement, we can avoid most but not all job losses.’  

Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, Mr O’Leary said the aviation industry had suffered the ‘worst downturn we have ever had in our 100-year industry.’

Ryanair resumed service from today, with around 1,000 flights scheduled to take place.

Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza are now at risk 

Up to 5,000 jobs are under threat at the group which owns Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza following plunging passengers numbers at railway stations and airports amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The SSP group warned it expects to open only around a fifth of its sites in the UK by the autumn as travel is set to remain at very low levels amid the Covid-19 crisis.

It has launched a consultation on a restructure to ‘simplify and reshape’ the business in the face of the pandemic, which could lead to more than half of its 9,000-strong peak season workforce being axed.  

Mr O’Leary said: ‘After 9/11, the last great shock to the airline industry, flights were grounded for four days. 

‘So far with this pandemic we’ve been grounded for almost four months across the UK and Europe, so this is historic. 

‘We’ve never gone through a downturn like this before and it’s not just the airline industry. The tourism industry in Britain, the restaurants, the hotels, the leisure outlets, are critically dependent on us bringing hundreds of thousands of European visitors to the UK, we need to get this industry moving again in July and August.’

Unite has called for greater support of the airline industry amid a growing number of job losses.

Speaking to BBC Radio Four this morning, the union’s regional secretary for the South West, Steve Preddy, said: ‘Nobody’s asking for charitable handouts, we don’t expect the British taxpayers to support private industry but what we’re saying is that the government can intervene to provide loan support and reconfigurations of the apprenticeship levy to support this very important sector of our economy to ride this current storm.’ 

It comes as Airbus, Europe’s biggest aircraft maker, announced plans to slash nearly 15,000 jobs across its global operations – including 1,700 in the UK.

Meanwhile EasyJet yesterday said 4,500 jobs were at risk, and Bensons for Beds, Harveys and TM Lewin all announced layoffs and store closures.   

Michael O’Leary told Good Morning Britain viewers ‘we need to get back to some degree of normality’

Aerospace giant Airbus is to cut 1,700 jobs in the UK as the coronavirus pandemic causes ‘the gravest crisis’ the aviation industry has ever faced (Airbus facility near Nantes, France)

The news is a huge blow to its site at Broughton in Wales, where wings are manufactured, and its other factory at Filton in Bristol (pictured, British Airways Airbus A380 airplanes)

How coronavirus has affected UK airlines and travel operators 

Flybe: Europe’s largest regional airline collapsed on March 5 after months on the brink, triggering 2,400 job losses and left around 15,000 passengers stranded across the UK and Europe. 

British Airways: The International Airlines Group, which also includes Iberia and Aer Lingus, said on March 16 that there would be a 75 per cent reduction in passenger capacity for two months, with boss Willie Walsh admitting there was ‘no guarantee that many European airlines would survive’. The company has since said it wants to reduce the number of staff by 12,000. 

Loganair: The Scottish regional airline said on March 30 that it expects to ask the Government for a bailout to cope with the impact of the pandemic. 

Jet2: The airline has suspended all of its flights departing from Britain until April 30. A number of Jet2 flights turned around mid-air last month while travelling to Spain when a lockdown was announced in the country.

Virgin Atlantic: The airline said on March 16 that it would have reduced its lights by 80 per cent by March 26, and this will go up to 85 per cent by April. It has also urged the Government to offer carriers emergency credit facilities worth up to £7.5billion.

Ryanair: More than 90 per cent of the Irish-based airline’s planes are now grounded, with the rest of the aircraft providing repatriation and rescue flights. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said his airline would be forced to shed 3,000 jobs while seeking pay reductions of up to 20 per cent by those who remain. 

TUI: Holiday giant Tui is looking to cut up to 8,000 roles worldwide with the firm calling Covid-19 the ‘greatest crisis’ the industry has faced.

The UK’s biggest tour operator posted losses of 845.8 million euro (£747m) in the first half of 2020, compared to 289.1 million (£255m) in the same period 12 months previously. 

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 this morning, regional secretary of the Unite union Steve Preddy warned the government must ‘intervene to provide loan support.’

He added: ‘There’s no question that the global airline market was readjusting itself, we saw that before the pandemic. However that does not account for the serious and deep affect the pandemic has had on the aircraft industry worldwide and particularly here in the UK, we are after all the second largest aircraft manufacturer in the world. 

‘This is about bums in seats, the evidence is with the return of confidence in air travel and if people are reassured the industry could return to some sense of normality before that time, but it will need bridging support and that’s what we’re asking the government to provide.

‘In France recently the government have announced some 16bn euros in support for the aviation sector and similar numbers in Germany and Spain and in the US phenomenal support for the aviation sector.

‘Nobody’s asking for charitable handouts, we don’t expect the British taxpayers to support private industry but what we’re saying is that the government can intervene to provide loan support, reconfigurations of the apprenticeship levy to support this very important sector of our economy to ride this current storm.’

Job cuts at Airbus represent 15 per cent of its 90,000-strong commercial aerospace workforce – 50 per cent greater than cuts it made in 2007. 

The news is a huge blow to its site at Broughton in north Wales, where wings are manufactured, and its other factory at Filton in Bristol. 

Airbus added that while it will try to limit job losses to voluntary redundancies and retirements, compulsory redundancies ‘cannot be ruled out’.  

A statement said: ‘Airbus has announced plans to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the Covid-19 crisis.’

It added that ‘this adaptation is expected to result in a reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021’.

Airbus slashed aircraft production by a third to about 60 a month in April. It has seen commercial aircraft business activity drop by nearly 40 per cent in recent months. 

The aerospace giant had furloughed 3,200 UK staff after its chief executive said the company was ‘bleeding cash at an unprecedented speed’. 

Workers at the Broughton factory in north Wales were furloughed and the company had applied for the UK Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme. 

‘Airbus confirms it has agreed with its social partners to apply the government’s Job Retention Scheme for approximately 3,200 production and production-support employees at its commercial aircraft site in Broughton,’ it had said. 

In a statement released on Tuesday, chief executive Guillaume Faury revealed: ‘Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced. 

‘The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. 

‘Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers. 

Upper Crust owner SSP Group is axing up to 5,000 UK jobs (pictured, in Marylebone Station)

Shirtmaker TM Lewin collapses into administration  

TM Lewin collapsed into administration yesterday with 600 jobs axed.

The 122-year-old shirtmaker’s 66 shops, which also sell shoes, suits and ties, will disappear from the high street but its online platform will remain.

The firm blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the move to digital-only as it could not afford to pay rents after stores shut in March. 

A TM Lewin source told MailOnline an email was sent to staff 25 minutes before a Microsoft team meeting to tell them they were being made redundant. 

‘To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures. 

‘Our management team and our Board of Directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation. 

‘We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry.

‘The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.’

Mr Faury added that the cuts could have been ‘significantly worse’ had it not been for government support.  

Airbus is the UK’s biggest aerospace company. Its Oxford base is a major helicopter supplier for the Ministry of Defence and air ambulance services.   

The company is also planning to cut 5,000 jobs in France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain and 1,300 positions at its other worldwide sites.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS, said ‘Airbus is central to our aerospace industry and has a close relationship with its highly-integrated UK supply chain’. 

He called on the Government ‘to support a strong recovery’, adding: ‘This is undoubtedly the toughest period the global aerospace industry has ever faced’. 

Meanwhile, Unite called the announcement ‘another act of industrial vandalism and a terrible insult to our incredible UK workforce’. 

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Tuner said: ‘Over the weeks of this crisis, this country’s aerospace jobs have gone hand over fist yet not one word of support or act of assistance has been forthcoming from the Government.

‘The UK Government is watching from the sidelines while a national asset is destroyed. The only words uttered by the Government in relation to UK aerospace during this entire crisis came out of the blue today in relation to the prime minister’s UK-made ‘Jet Zero’ project. But while our world-class industry is shedding skills and workers at the present rate, this project will be nothing more than a PR fantasy. 

Around 5,000 posts in France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain, 1,700 in the UK and 1,300 elsewhere will be cut (pictured, Air France A380 Airbus and airplanes)


In a statement released on Tuesday, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury (left) said the company’s future was at stake after the coronavirus pandemic rocked the air travel industry (right, Philippe Mhun, Executive Vice-President Programmes and Services)

‘UK aerospace workers deserve the same support and investment that Mr (Emmanuel) Macron and Ms (Angela) Merkel provide to their workers. 

‘Airbus workers in France and Germany have up to two years to work to fend off their redundancies and turn their businesses around while in the UK the axe falls with immediate effect. With every day that goes by without any action to support this sector from the UK Government, our competitors cheer.’   

How was EasyJet doing before the lockdown? 

According to Feb 2020 flight schedules, easyJet operated over 8,900 flights (one-way) a week, from over 120 airports (mainly in Europe).

In terms of flights operated per week during the month of Feb 2020, easyJet’s top five airports were:

  • London Gatwick – 850 flights
  • Geneva – 522 flights
  • Berlin – 396 flights
  • London Luton – 372 flights
  • Amsterdam – 353 flights

Per week in Feb 2020, easyJet’s top five routes, in terms of scheduled seats available, were between:

  • London Gatwick and Geneva
  • London Gatwick and Amsterdam
  • Paris Orly and Toulouse
  • London Luton and Amsterdam
  • Paris Orly and Nice

Peter Hughes, Unite’s Wales regional secretary, said: ‘The significance of large-scale job losses at Airbus would have a devastating impact on the aerospace sector in Wales and on the wider Welsh economy.

‘Unite has been calling for the UK Government to put a plan of support in place for the aerospace sector for months. 

‘This support has been provided by France and Germany. 

‘Will the UK Government now step up to the plate and do everything required to support UK aviation jobs? We are calling upon Airbus to hold their nerve and step back from implementing their plan.’ 

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said on Tuesday: ‘News of job losses today in the aviation sector is devastating for those affected. Thousands of jobs have been under threat of redundancy, with staff, the sector and politicians of all sides urging the Government to act, yet Tory ministers have been found wanting.’ 

He added: ‘Labour has consistently called for an extension to the furlough in the most impacted industries, and a sectoral deal that supports the whole aviation industry, including securing jobs and protecting the supply chain, while continuing to press for higher environmental standards.’ 

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: ‘This is extremely worrying news for workers, their families and the wider community.’ 

The company is cutting nearly 15,000 jobs across its global operations to stay afloat as the coronavirus crisis rocks the air travel industry (pictured, Air France Airbus A380 aircraft)

Wales’s minister for economy, transport and North Wales Ken Skates said: ‘The sector is in crisis and the UK Government needs to take swift and decisive action now to save the industry and its supply chain. 

EasyJet revealed up to 4,500 staff will lose their jobs, including 1,900 UK employees (pictured, EasyJet planes at Stansted Airport on Tuesday)

‘The alarm bells have been sounding for weeks and we need urgent steps at a UK level to prevent this crisis becoming even worse.’

Yesterday, budget airline EasyJet revealed up to 4,500 staff will lose their jobs, including 1,900 UK employees, and announced plans to close its bases at London’s Stansted and Southend airports, and at Newcastle.    

Some 727 of its UK-based pilots are at risk of redundancy, equivalent to about one-third of its pilots in the country. 

The airline had announced last month that it was reducing its workforce by nearly a third, warning it needed to cut 4,500 jobs to stay competitive.

Harveys and Bensons for Beds are among Covid’s retail casualties

Furniture chain Harveys fell into administration, with the immediate loss of 240 jobs.

Over 1,000 more jobs could be axed if 20 stores at risk of closure shut. 

Bensons for Beds, also fell into administration, but was immediately bought back by Alteri in a ‘prepack deal’. 

Under the deal, they plan to keep up to 175 of Bensons for Beds’s 242 stores as well as its Huntingdon manufacturing operation and nearly 1,900 jobs. 

At the start of this month EasyJet raised £419million of cash to help it see through the pandemic. It has also taken a £600million government loan.

The Luton-based carrier becomes the latest domino to fall in the aviation industry, which has suffered massive losses in the wake of the pandemic.  

EasyJet said the proposals are to close the bases in August to customers booked to fly from the airport over the summer ‘will not be affected as a result of this.’ 

Yesterday, it began consultation on proposals with employee representatives on all of its UK-based pilots and crew. 

The proposals include the potential closing of three of its bases in the UK – London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle. 

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: ‘These are very difficult proposals to put forward in what is an unprecedented and difficult time for the airline and the industry as a whole. We are focused on doing what is right for the company and its long term health and success so we can protect jobs going forward.

‘Unfortunately the lower demand environment means we need fewer aircraft and have less opportunity for work for our people – we are committed to working constructively with our employee representatives across the network with the aim of minimising job losses as far as possible.

‘These proposals are no reflection on our people at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle, who have all worked tirelessly and have been fully committed to providing great service for our customers.’

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA)  accused EasyJet of ‘excessive overreaction’ and urged the Government to stop the industry’s ‘death spiral’.  

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren (pictured at Gatwick on June 15) said the proposals were ‘difficult to put forward in what is an unprecedented and difficult time’

EasyJet aircraft pictured at London Southend Airport in Essex on Tuesday

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has accused EasyJet of ‘excessive over-reaction’ after the airline revealed up to 4,500 staff will lose its jobs

The union tweeted: ‘We are shocked at the size of potential pilot job losses in EasyJet which equate to nearly 1-in-3 of EasyJet pilots in the UK: 727 pilots.  

‘EasyJet paid £174million out to shareholders, got agreements to furlough staff to protect cash, got £600million from the Government, has boasted of having £2.4billion in liquidity, and ticket sales are going through the roof so fast they cannot get pilots back off furlough quickly enough.

‘So this seems an excessive over-reaction. It doesn’t add up. We are meeting EasyJet today and we will be fighting to save every single job.

‘This is more evidence that aviation in the UK is caught in a death spiral of despair and individual airlines are flailing around without direction. Govt should step in, provide a strategy and back a moratorium on job losses’.  

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary told GMB: ‘We need to get back to some degree of normality, we can’t live our lives sitting isolated at home.

‘We are going to have to go back to work, people are going to have to take trains, the London Underground and planes.’

Up to 5,000 jobs are under threat at the group which owns Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza following plunging passengers numbers at railway stations and airports amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The SSP group warned it expects to open only around a fifth of its sites in the UK by the autumn as travel is set to remain at very low levels amid the Covid-19 crisis.

It has launched a consultation on a restructure to ‘simplify and reshape’ the business in the face of the pandemic, which could lead to more than half of its 9,000-strong peak season workforce being axed. 

The group, which employs 9,000 people and has around 580 stores including those trading under the Caffe Ritazza brand, said head office and UK staff will be affected. 

Pre-lockdown, SSP traded from around 2,800 units in airports, railway stations and motorway services stations. It served 1.5million customers every day in 35 countries. 

SSP Chief executive Simon Smith said: ‘In the UK the pace of the recovery continues to be slow.

‘In response to this, we are now taking further action to protect the business and create the right base from which to rebuild our operations.

‘Regrettably, we are starting a collective consultation which will affect our UK colleagues.

‘These are extremely difficult decisions, and our main priority will be to conduct the process carefully and fairly.’ 

TM Lewin collapsed into administration yesterday with 600 jobs axed.

The 122-year-old shirtmaker’s 66 shops, which also sell shoes, suits and ties, will disappear from the high street but its online platform will remain.

The firm blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the move to digital-only as it could not afford to pay rents after stores shut in March. 

The 122-year-old shirtmaker’s 66 shops, which also sell shoes, suits and ties, will disappear from the UK high street but its online platform will remain (file photo)

The firm blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the move to digital-only as it could not afford to pay rents after stores shut in March (file photo)

It is the latest retail victim of the crisis, following the owner of Britain’s biggest shopping centres Intu Properties which went into administration last week. 

A TM Lewin source told MailOnline an email was sent to staff 25 minutes before a Microsoft team meeting to tell them they were being made redundant.

The woman, who worked for the company, said the conference lasted just four minutes with around 110 staff on the call.

She said the meeting was held by the new owner of TM Lewin, Torque, with group transformation CEO James Doyan hosting it.  

She added: ‘There was no chance for anyone to ask questions or have any say. We were told to mute ourselves and turn off our cameras for the meeting.’ 

Harveys also became another casualty of the pandemic yesterday as the furniture chain fell into administration, with the immediate loss of 240 jobs.

Over 1,000 more jobs could be axed if 20 stores at risk of closure shut. 

Harveys became another casualty of the pandemic on Tuesday as the furniture chain fell into administration, with the immediate loss of 240 jobs

Harveys website says they are no longer taking new orders but will honour existing orders

Collapsed: All Harveys stores, around 20 and mostly in London, will continue to trade for now and existing customer orders will be honoured

All Harveys stores in the UK will continue to trade for now as administrators PwC look for a buyer for the business and its three manufacturing sites. 

The company’s website says they are not taking any new orders, but claims that ‘existing orders will be delivered as communicated’. 

The chain, which is owned by private equity firm Alteri Investors, was already struggling even before the coronavirus pandemic struck.  

‘A combination of structural issues and Covid means we are going to have to leave behind the underperforming part of the business’, said CEO Gavin George.

Harvey’s sister furniture chain, Bensons for Beds, also fell into administration, but was immediately bought back by Alteri in a ‘prepack deal’. 

Under the deal, they plan to keep up to 175 of Bensons for Beds’s 242 stores as well as its Huntingdon manufacturing operation and nearly 1,900 jobs. 

Zelf Hussain, joint administrator at PwC, said the two furniture chains, and especially Harveys, had faced ‘cashflow pressures’ in recent months, which were ‘exacerbated by coronavirus on the supply chain and customer sales’. 

Twelve million jobs are now being propped up by the state: Furlough bill rises by another £2.6billion in a WEEK to £25billion, while grants to self-employed hit £7.7billion 

By David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent for MailOnline 

Britain’s furlough bill soared past £25billion this week with more than 12 million jobs now being propped up by the state, new figures revealed today.

The coronavirus job retention scheme (JRS) which pays 80 per cent of salary costs for staff – rose £2.6billion this week from £22.9billion the week before.

It is now supporting 9.3million jobs, according to the Treasury and HMRC, while the support scheme for the self-employed rose to 7.7billion, across 2.6million claims.

Banks have lent small businesses £29.5billion-worth of 100 per cent state-backed loans, up about £1.5 billion pounds from the previous week. 

Larger firms had received £11.1 billion from the government’s main lending scheme, with the biggest companies getting an extra 2.3 billion pounds. 

The figures were released as Boris Johnson promised a ‘New Deal’ to rebuild Britain.

Britain’s furlough bill soared past £25billion this week with more than 12 million jobs now being propped up by the state, new figures revealed today

Figures reveal scale of Covid business loans 

Figures released on Tuesday by the Treasury and HMRC show one extent of the Government’s massive spending spree to help sure up a faltering economy hit by the coronavirus crisis.

As ministers ordered Britons to stay at home unless they had to shop for food in March, Rishi Sunak promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to support the companies whose business would be decimated by the decision.

It meant launching three Government-backed loans, the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), a similar scheme for larger businesses called CLBILS, and the bounce-back loans, which help out some of the smallest companies.

Data for last week, released Tuesday, again shows that the bounce-back loans have proved the most popular.

Close to 1.2million businesses have applied for the loans of up to £50,000.

So far a little under 970,000 have been approved and handed £29.5billion.

Meanwhile, 105,000 companies have applied for a CBILS loan, 52,000 have been approved, and £11.1billion has been paid out. Out of the 745 applicants for CLBILS, 359 have been approved for loans worth £2.3 billion.

The Government also revealed that 1.1 million businesses have furloughed 9.3 million workers, claiming £25.5 billion to cover a portion of their salaries while they cannot work.

The costly programmes were launched to see Britain through the worst of lockdown, but the Government will hope that these can be eased.

The Treasury has already said that companies will have to shoulder some of the burden for paying their furloughed workers from August, before the programme is phased out.

The deadline for new applications to the scheme was set at June 30.

It comes as the economy is preparing to return to some semblance of normality. On Saturday, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 23.

As a major English city is plunged back into a local lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson today pledged to ‘build, build, build’, bringing forward a massive programme of public works.

He said that Britain can ‘not just bounce back, but bounce forward – stronger and better and more united than ever before’ in the wake of the coronavirus.

But in a grim reminder that the virus is still at large, Mr Johnson was last night locked in crisis talks about reimposing the lockdown in Leicester.

Today’s speech was accompanied by billions of pounds of investment in building and refurbishing schools, hospitals and roads, as well as spending on transport and local growth projects.

A new unit, dubbed Project Speed, will be led by Rishi Sunak this summer to identify projects that can be fast-tracked.

Reform of the planning system to remove ‘blockages’ is also under consideration. And a new National Infrastructure Strategy will be published in the autumn.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will put the ‘infrastructure revolution’ at the heart of a mini-Budget expected on July 8.

In his speech in Dudley today, the PM pledged to ‘build back better and stronger’, with a programme designed to reach all parts of the country.

‘Too many parts of this country have felt left behind, neglected, unloved, as though someone had taken a strategic decision that their fate did not matter as much as the metropolis,’ he said. 

The PM offered an ‘opportunity guarantee’ to young people and those who have lost their jobs because of the lockdown, with major investment in apprenticeships and further education.

And his chief aide Dominic Cummings is shaking up the Whitehall machine, which saw the departure of Britain’s top civil servant Sir Mark Sedwill on Sunday night.

Mr Johnson referenced the famous New Deal programmes led by Franklin D Roosevelt, which are credited with rescuing the United States from the Great Depression in the 1930s. Yesterday he confirmed there would be no attempt to ‘go back to what people called austerity’, saying it would be a mistake.

It came as Anneliese Dodds warned mass unemployment could have a ‘scarring impact on our country for decades’ if the Government cannot adapt the furlough scheme for different industries instead of pursuing a ‘one size fits all approach’.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, the Shadow Chancellor said: ‘If we look at what other countries are doing, and what the evidence tells us, that first step of stopping people becoming unemployed in the first place is absolutely critical. 

As a major English city is plunged back into a local lockdown, the Prime Minister pledged to ‘build, build, build’, bringing forward a massive programme of public works

It came as shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds (pictured) warned that mass unemployment could have a ‘scarring impact on our country for decades’

‘Once people have become unemployed, that has a scarring impact on them and on our country for decades into the future.

‘So what I’m saying to the Government, and I’ve offered this in the spirit of constructive opposition many times, I’ve said to them, please, shift course, do not continue to have this one size fits all approach, because that will inevitably lead to much greater unemployment in the future.’

Ms Dodds recommended keeping young people in education and training for longer to ‘keep them out of that pool of unemployed people,’ and better supporting those who become unemployed using previously used strategies like the Future Jobs Fund.

TUI, EasyJet and Ryanair CANCEL all flights and holidays to Greece after it bans travellers from the UK until July 15 because of high coronavirus infection rate 

ByDavid Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent For Mailonline 

Travel firms have been forced to scrap thousands of flights and holiday packages in Greece after the nation extended its ban on arrivals from the UK.

TUI, Ryanair, Easyjet, Jet2 and British Airways have all axed travel plans for Brits who booked in the hope of a quick getaway in early July.

But the Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last night extended a UK flight ban due to end on July 1 to July 15.

He took the action despite UK plans to include Greece in a ‘green’ group of countries it was safe for Britons to travel to using quarantine-free air bridges.

Greece has been relatively lightly affected by coronavirus, but the UK continues to be one of the worst affected countries in Europe.

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took the action despite UK plans to include Greece in a ‘green’ group of countries it was safe for Britons to travel to using quarantine-free air bridges

TUI, the UK’s biggest tour operator, was due to serve four Greek islands when it resumed operations on July 11, while EasyJet had announced plans to resume flights from the UK to Greece next week with fares starting at £39.99.

The boss of TUI this morning demanded clarity over the air bridge scheme, warning that other countries could follow Greece’s example.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK & Ireland, said the proposal could only work after ‘two-way conversations’ between Britain and other countries, adding: ‘I think there’s still going to be a few bumps in the road.’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last night officially ended the much-criticised blanket quarantine programme just three weeks after it was introduced for visitors and those returning to homes in the UK.

In a Written Ministerial Statement to MPs he confirmed new measures unveiled by Downing Street on Saturday, to come into effect ‘shortly’.

Under the traffic light system, drawn up by the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England and set to be in place by July 6, countries will be rated green, amber or red based on coronavirus infection levels, the reliability of official data and confidence in test and trace systems.

The 14-day quarantine requirement will remain only for ‘red-rated’ countries such as the US and Brazil. Travel between ‘green’ and ‘amber’ countries will be quarantine-free, but passengers will have to fill in a ‘locator form’ to trace their movements. 

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