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UK hotelier Whitbread plans to cut almost a fifth of staff

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UK hotel operator Whitbread said it plans to cut as many as 6,000 jobs, or 18 per cent of its workforce, as the pandemic erodes tourism.

[LONDON] UK hotel operator Whitbread said it plans to cut as many as 6,000 jobs, or 18 per cent of its workforce, as the pandemic erodes tourism.

Whitbread said Tuesday it will consult with worker representatives to discuss the redundancies after first-half comparable sales plummeted 78 per cent in the UK. The company said it hopes that voluntary departures will make up a significant part of the reductions.

Tourism-related companies are being pummelled as consumers cancel travel plans. Tour operator TUI said Tuesday it's starting a programme to cut overhead costs by 30 per cent, which may result in the loss of 8,000 jobs.

"This is a regrettable but necessary step to ensure that we emerge from the crisis with a lower cost base, a more flexible operating model and a stronger more resilient business," Whitbread said in a statement.

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