Cineworld | Staff claim they found out about site closure plans on Twitter

Staff claim they found out about site closure plans on Twitter

The recent pandemic has taken its toll on businesses across the UK, leaving many employees out of work or facing being placed on the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

One business that has felt the brunt in particular is British cinema company Cineworld with thousands of employees potentially at risk of losing their jobs.

However, staff were left feeling furious after they claimed to have found out about potential job losses over social media site Twitter.

The Sun reported yesterday that the chain was considering plans to close all of its 127 UK and Ireland cinemas which would put up to 5,500 jobs at risk.

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It was reported that the majority of workers would be asked to take redundancy with possible incentives to re-join the business when theatres re-open.

Cineworld Action Group, which is formed and run by Cineworld employees around the UK, said last night: “We have found out vital information about our jobs from the media throughout the pandemic.

“Workers have been left out of discussions that should’ve included our voices. However, in this case it goes beyond belief. To find out you may no longer have a job from the media is awful.

“The way we have been treated throughout the pandemic has been terrible.

- We were initially sacked via inhuman scripted phone calls in March.

- 80% furlough has left many of us struggling to make ends meet.

- Health and safety concerns have been consistently ignored.”

Several staff members have also shared their frustration on Twitter following the news: 

HR Grapevine has contacted Cineworld for comment.

Today, Cineworld has since shared that the decision to close its sites was ‘not a decision we made lightly’. 

According to the BBC, the chain is temporarily closing its UK and US venues which will impact 45,000 jobs.

In a statement released today, Chief Executive Mooky Greidinger said: "We did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets.

"Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen."

007 fiasco

The closure of the sites are said to be due to the delay of James Bond film No Time To Die, which has been postponed twice and is now due for release in April 2021. This delay has left cinemas in a financial crisis, costing top chains up to £50million.

Since the pandemic hit, Cineworld has lost £1.3billion globally and slashed entry prices down to £4 in a bid to attract customers back through doors.

Twitter claims

This isn’t the first time Cineworld has come under fire for its delivery when it comes to employees’ jobs. In March this year, HR Grapevine reported on the news that staff at its Broughton arm allegedly found out about potential job losses via Twitter.

After the news reached the media before staff, employees revealed that later that week they received an email explaining that they would be contacted by management to give them more details. It was reported that managers formally contacted them with the news but not until much later.

COVID layoffs

Throughout the pandemic, several businesses have been slammed for the way in which they have dealt the difficult news of layoffs. In May 3,500 workers at the ride-hailing firm Uber were told that they will be losing their jobs via a three-minute Zoom call, while electric scooter company Bird acted in a similar vein, informing 406 employees that they would be losing their job in a two minute Zoom call.

Claire Brook, Employment Law Partner at Aaron & Partners, previously shared with HR Grapevine that when an employer doesn’t deal with staff cuts appropriately, they could face potential claims, suggesting that employers should be mindful about how and where staff find out information regarding their future jobs.

She said: “Employers who fail to follow a fair procedure in handling enforced changes to terms and conditions and dismissals face potential claims including:

• Unfair dismissal – where an employer dismisses an employee with qualifying service without fair reason and/or fair process

• Protective award – a punitive award which can be claimed where an employer fails to comply with collective consultation requirements prior to effecting 20 or more dismissals within a 90-day period.”

HR Grapevine has reached out to Cineworld to comment on the reports that staff found out about the potential of job losses via social media.

HR Grapevine has contacted Cineworld for comment.

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Comments (1)

  • Boris
    Mon, 5 Oct 2020 4:10pm BST
    I am pretty sure that they cannot make people redundant and then hire them back again within a set time period, otherwise they void the redundancy package.

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