Job cuts misery continues as 10,000 workers face axe at Boots, John Lewis and Rolls-Royce

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry

Thousands more jobs are at risk of being lost in the UK, as Boots, John Lewis and Rolls Royce all announced plans to scale back on staff.

More than 10,000 jobs today have been slashed from major UK companies as employers look to offset the impact of coronavirus.

The losses come despite the Chancellor announcing a £30bn spending stimulus designed to protect workers.

So far today:

  • High street pharmacy chain Boots have announced 4,000 job cuts across 48 of its stores

  • 3,000 British workers have applied for voluntary redundancy at Rolls-Royce after the luxury car manufacturer announced 9,000 job cuts worldwide

  • Department chain John Lewis announced it will close eight of its department stores, putting 1,300 jobs at risk

  • Burger King said it could could close one in ten branches, putting 1,600 jobs on the line

  • GE Aviation is expected to cut 369 jobs at Nantgarw, Wales. The firm has already accepted 180 voluntary redundancies

Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned further job losses could be on the horizon despite announcing schemes such as the Jobs Retention Bonus designed to protect furloughed staff. The Jobs Retention Bonus, a scheme awarding £1,000 to employers who bring back furloughed staff, has been hailed by many as innovative but critics say it is not enough. Mr Sunak, defending the sum, said he believes it will make a "significant difference".

  • ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt has more:

Despite the announcement yesterday, John Lewis said it will shut two full-size department stores in Birmingham and Watford, four At Home shops in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth, as well as two travel hub outlets at Heathrow and St Pancras. It said the eight shops were already "financially challenged" before the pandemic, which has ramped up the shift towards online shopping. The group estimated that between 60% and 70% of John Lewis sales are set to be made online this year and next, compared with 40% before the coronavirus crisis.

John Lewis is weighing up which stores to close Credit: Jacob King / PA

Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: "Closing a shop is always incredibly difficult and today's announcement will come as very sad news to customers and partners. "However, we believe closures are necessary to help us secure the sustainability of the partnership - and continue to meet the needs of our customers however and wherever they want to shop. "Redundancies are always an absolute last resort and we will do everything we can to keep as many partners as possible within our business."

At Rolls-Royce, two-thirds of the 3,000 staff which have applied for voluntary redundancy will leave the company by the end of August. The engine marker said its organisation plans were designed to save around £1.3bn a year before tax and includes cutting 17% of its total workforce. Chief executive Warren East said: "These are exceptional times. The Covid-19 pandemic has created a historic shock in civil aviation which will take several years to recover. "We started this year with positive momentum and strong liquidity and acted swiftly to conserve cash and cut costs to protect Rolls-Royce during the pandemic.

Around 3,000 UK staff at Rolls Royce have applied for voluntary redundancy. Credit: PA Images.

"We are taking steps to resize our Civil Aerospace business to adapt to lower medium-term demand from customers and help secure our future. "This means we have had to take the very difficult decision to lose people who have helped us become the company we are and who have been proud to work for Rolls-Royce." At Burger King, the firm's UK boss warned one in 10 of its outlets could close due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. So far, just 370 of its 530 branches in the UK have reopened. Chief executive Alasdair Murdoch told the BBC's Newscast the economic damage stemming from the crisis could ultimately force the company to permanently close up to 10% of its stores.

Burger King said one in 10 of its stores could close due to the impact of coronavirus. Credit: PA

He told Newscast: "We don't want to lose any (jobs). We try very hard not to, but one's got to assume somewhere between 5% and 10% of the restaurants might not be able to survive. "It's not just us - I think this applies to everyone out there in our industry." Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday unveiled a £30 billion support package to help boost the nation's economic recovery, which included plans to subsidise restaurant bills throughout August to encourage people to dine out. However Mr Murdoch added that Government schemes do not do enough to compensate restaurants for the combination of fixed costs and lost sales throughout the pandemic, telling Newscast: "I don't think you can ever get over the top of this problem."