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Whitbread Workers Protest Over 1,500 Planned Job Cuts

Premier Inn hotel

Workers protested at Premier Inn owner Whitbread’s annual shareholder meeting, opposing plans to cut 1,500 jobs despite the company's rising profits. 

Employees from Whitbread-owned restaurants like Brewers Fayre, Table Table, and Beefeater gathered outside the meeting in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. 

The union activists raised concerns about the job cuts and employee pay inside the venue.

The Unite union has criticised Whitbread for conducting what it describes as an "insincere and superficial" 45-day consultation process that began in late April. 

Unite has warned it may pursue employment tribunal claims for unfair dismissal.

Despite not being formally recognised by Whitbread, Unite asserts that the company has not explored alternatives to redundancy. 


This comes against a backdrop of Whitbread reporting a substantial 36 percent rise in underlying profits to £561 million.

An anonymous Whitbread worker said: “We are still only being drip-fed information with little to no time to process or evaluate options.” 

Additionally, several workers who reside in company-provided accommodation have been informed they will receive eviction notices in July and August.

It coincides with the expected implementation of the redundancies.

“Rarely is a company so shameless as to celebrate leaping profits and dividends by announcing mass job cuts"

The job cuts were announced in April. 

At the same time, Whitbread reported a 36 percent profit increase.

It raised its final dividend per share by 26 to 62.9 percent. 

Unite’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, criticized Whitbread's actions.

She said: “Rarely is a company so shameless as to celebrate leaping profits and dividends by announcing mass job cuts.

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“But generating runaway profits while trampling workers is business as usual for Whitbread.

"This is a firm that refuses to pay the real living wage and does not even provide company sick pay for its underpaid and overworked staff.”

Whitbread recently reported a one percent increase in sales to £739 million for the three months ending May 30.

This was driven by improved trading in the UK and Germany. 

Whitbread's CEO, Dominic Paul, said the company’s plan to “optimise food and beverage at a number of sites” and add 3,500 hotel rooms in the UK is progressing well and will support long-term profitable growth. 

Whitbread said the restaurant closures are due to their loss-making status and has refuted the union’s claims, asserting that its consultation process was comprehensive and transparent.

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