HU WARNS INDUSTRY JOB LOSSES WILL BE IN THE TENS OF THOUSANDS WITHOUT OPENING DATE
28 May 2020
Reacting to the lack of a reopening date from the NI Executive today- Colin Neill, CEO of Hospitality Ulster said;
“We welcome the First Minister and Deputy First Minister’s announcement that hotels will be able to take advanced bookings “at risk” from the 8th June, and also that the Northern Ireland Executive recognises hospitality has been hardest hit.
“But, the anticipated announcement from the UK Chancellor that businesses will be expected to pay 20% of the furlough cost, compounded by the lack of an indicative opening date, leaves hospitality businesses with no option but to start redundancy processes.
“Hospitality businesses simply have no money to pay staff when the furlough is reduced, and have borrowed heavily just to last this long.
“We cannot remain closed beyond the end of July.
“It is basic economics; no money in means no money to pay wages.
“Our counterparts in GB and ROI have been given dates and are taking bookings already, whilst our own industry has been placed in phase five of the Northern Ireland reopening plan- the last phase- along with full use of public transport.
“We now expect to see tens of thousands of redundancy notices to be issued in the coming weeks- a situation we are desperate to avoid.
“Furloughing only preserves jobs, they are only saved when we reopen.
“The Northern Ireland Executive must not base decision making on memories of what our industry looked like pre Covid-19, but on our safe working plans for the ‘new normal’.
“All businesses should be able to open based on safety, and our hospitality industry is preparing extensive measures to create a safe environment for both staff and customers.
“Again, we appeal to the NI Executive to please give us a date to reopen and work with us to agree the safety procedures.
“It would be unforgivable to see job losses on a massive scale, and a waste of all the support we have been given to date.”