Pubs at Breaking Point Up to 300 Jobs Could be Lost by the End of the Week

17 January 2013

Industry body Pubs of Ulster has warned that up to 300 jobs could be lost across Belfast by the end of this week, as the impact of the on-going flag protests threatens the survival of the hospitality industry.

The warning comes as Pubs of Ulster revealed that pubs, restaurants and hotels are at breaking point, with trade dropping by an average of 30% - and in some cases by as much as 55% - over recent weeks.  In real terms, this means that the industry is currently suffering a dramatic drop in turnover, with one publican alone reporting a loss of £95,000 before Christmas and £60,000 after the Christmas period.  As a result, some pubs have already let staff go and as the situation is showing no signs of improvement, it is expected that more job losses will follow.


Colin Neill, chief executive of Pubs of Ulster, said:


“We are not taking a view on the flag issue itself but we have to address the effect on business, particularly in terms of people’s livelihoods.


“The nature of our business makes us very dependent on predictable cash flows and the truth is we have been very badly affected for a sustained period of time.  We have now reached crisis point and this week jobs have been lost.  Looking ahead, we are predicting that 200-300 casual and on-call jobs across the city centre will be lost before the end of the week.


“It’s clear that we are now at crisis point.  The industry is fighting for survival and we need action now.  We are engaging with all of the political parties in a bid to find a way forward, and will continue to do so until we find a solution.  In the meantime, we want to remind people that the city is very much open for business and we would encourage everyone to go out and support their local pubs and restaurants.”