Upper Crust owner SSP set to cut 5,000 jobs amid dwindling demand

Some 5,000 jobs at Upper Crust owner SSP could be axed as the company faces dwindling demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

SSP said the impact on passenger travel arising from Covid-19 resulted in the closure of almost all of its units in the UK.

It added that its intention was to re-open units and bring back our teams as rapidly as possible once passenger demand recovered, having accessed the UK Government’s furlough scheme.

However, it noted that the reality is that passenger numbers still “remain at very low levels”, and is a “reflection of the extent and duration of the current restrictions in place”.

As a consequence, SSP’s expectation is that by autumn only around 20% of its units in the UK will have opened, and has come to the “very difficult conclusion” that it will need to simplify and reshape its UK business.

This could lead to up to 5,000 roles becoming redundant from within the head office and UK operations. SSP said these decisions are “very difficult”, and its priority is to conduct this process “fairly and to support those affected”.

SSP Group CEO, Simon Smith, said: “Covid-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact on the travel industry and on SSP’s businesses in all geographies. Reflecting this, over the last three months the company has taken rapid and decisive action to protect the business and to substantially strengthen the Group’s financial position.

“We are beginning to see early signs of recovery in some parts of the world and are starting to open units as passenger demand picks up. However, in the UK the pace of the recovery continues to be slow. In response to this, we are now taking further action to protect the business and create the right base from which to rebuild our operations.”

He added: “Regrettably, we are starting a collective consultation which will affect our UK colleagues. These are extremely difficult decisions, and our main priority will be to conduct the process carefully and fairly. Importantly, we are retaining the flexibility to upscale operations and swiftly re-open additional units if we see improved sales over the summer.

“The medium-term prospects for the group remain positive. The objective of the action that we are proposing today is to ensure that we manage through this pandemic, rebuild our business as demand recovers and, in time, deliver long term sustainable growth for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

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