Cineworld laying off staff as it tries to stay afloat

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Cineworld makes drastic moves to keep afloat, with staff receiving notices that they are being made redundant.

With the prospect of cinemas being closed for several weeks ahead, and a week after news broke that the chain was facing difficulties, Cineworld has been contacting many of its staff over the past 24 hours.

We’ve learned from several people who work for the company that sizeable numbers of its staff are being made redundant with immediate effect.

Several people have sent us copies of the correspondence they’ve received. The note declares that “we need to inform you that as part of our measures to try to save the business given the serious difficulties that it is currently facing in light of the coronavirus pandemic, we will not be allocating you with any further shifts from 20th March 2020”.

It goes on to then say that the employee’s employment is terminated “by reason of redundancy”, effective 19th March 2020.

We’re hearing that managers have been calling staff to break the news. In some cases, it seems that staff were offered a choice of a 40% pay cut or taking redundancy, but that the choice needed to be made now. The correspondence also adds that the firm hopes employees will want to return when they reopen, but that these were “unprecedented times” and that it had to take these “huge steps”.

Cineworld branches, it seems, are retaining some staff, but many are affected by the redundancies too. It comes against a backdrop of many across the film industry set to lose their income too.

Cinemas around the UK are expected to remain closed for the next few weeks, and pressure is on the government to help industries that will struggle to stay afloat in what in fairness are unprecedented times. Curzon’s CEO Philip Knatchbull has Tweeted, separately, giving a flavour of just what enormous pressures cinemas are under. It sounds as if new ownership has been instrumental in this case…

Cineworld, and most major cinema chains in the UK, don’t have a home streaming alternative and rely entirely on footfall through the door, of course.

We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.

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