St Austell Brewery ‘to cut 100 jobs’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Industry wide: St Austell is the latest pub company to announce possible job losses
Industry wide: St Austell is the latest pub company to announce possible job losses

Related tags St austell brewery Cornwall Jobs South west england

South west-based operator and brewer St Austell Brewery is set to cut up to 10% of its 1,000 workforce.

St Austell confirmed it is looking to reduce its number of employees by up to 100 jobs, blaming coronavirus for said losses and a significant fall in revenue.

The firm has more than 1,000 full and part-time workers across its 170 pubs, inns and hotel estate, primarily in Cornwall.

St Austell Brewery chief executive Kevin Georgel said: “When the coronavirus crisis hit, and our pubs were closed, we experienced a 90% fall in our revenue. The months since have been hugely challenging and we’ve been regularly communicating with our teams – including those on furlough – about the significant financial impact we’ve faced. The pandemic continues to have a knock-on effect and, despite reopening our pubs, our trading levels are much lower than last year.

“Thanks to Government support we’ve been able to keep all of our people employed throughout the crisis however, as the furlough scheme tapers out, we can no longer maintain our current staffing levels. Regrettably, this means we’re having to make some very difficult decisions, which will result in job losses.

“It’s with heavy hearts that we started to consult with our teams in July. It is a phased process and we are doing our utmost to support those who are affected. We anticipate that a revised business structure will be in place by the end of November.

Financial challenges

Georgel added: “Like all companies in the hospitality sector we must adapt to how the market has changed. Therefore, we need to simplify our business to become more sustainable, overcome the financial challenges we face and safeguard St Austell Brewery’s future.”

St Austell is the latest pub company to announce job losses with a plethora of firms announcing redundancies in recent weeks.

Pub operator Marston’s also recently revealed that the Government's new Covid-19 measures, including the enforced closure of almost 40 of its pubs, will put more than 2,000 roles at risk.

In a trading update for the 53 weeks ended 3 October 2020, the Wolverhampton-based operator of close to 1,400 pubs revealed that despite 10,000 staff members returning to work, about 2,150 pub-based roles currently subject to furlough are at risk​, following the introduction of new pandemic restrictions. 

Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), the pub company behind brands including Sizzling Pubs, Toby Carvery, All Bar One and Nicholson’s, also revealed it had opened redundancy consultations for staff​ earlier this month (Tuesday 13 October).

The operator, which employs some 44,000 workers, said it was unable to confirm any numbers at present and put the redundancies down to the latest Government restrictions.

Jobs at risk

Towards the end of September, pub staff at JD Wetherspoon (JDW)'s airport sites were told a possible 400 to 450 roles are at risk​ of redundancy due to a drop in passenger numbers.

This came just weeks after the pub giant informed head office staff a possible 110 to 130 roles were at risk and claimed at that time, no staff in its sites would be impacted. 

Furthermore, a poll of UKHospitality (UKH), British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and  British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) members by CGA revealed that more than three quarter (76%) of businesses were loss making.

The trade bodies predicted 750,000 hospitality roles will be lost by February 2020​ without further Government support.

This was stated prior to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s three point plan including cash grants for pubs in tier two, an extension of the self-employed support and changes to the Job Support Scheme.

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