Members of staff who were among those to be put on temporary ‘coronavirus’ leave by the Costa franchise in Cliftonville have been notified of redundancy.
It is understood at least three workers have received emails from franchisee Goldex Investments to inform them that their positions are to be axed.
The staff had been furloughed by the company under the Government’s job retention scheme aimed at giving businesses financial support during the pandemic.
Costa, and its franchisees, closed stores on March 23 in line with government guidance to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The retention scheme has been launched in a bid to save jobs as businesses cope with the financial impact of the enforced closures.
In the email, seen by The Isle of Thanet News, Goldex Investments Ltd says: “We are forced to make redundancies due to the current pandemic and inevitable losses that have occurred and will continue to occur for the foreseeable future.”
Goldex Investment told the employees of the Northdown Road branch that a lack of financial relief from Costa and the delay in being able to access any government funding contributed to a decision to cut staff costs.
According to the email plans to reopen the site as a takeaway after the pandemic have resulted in a need for less staff.
The letter says March pay will be through the furlough scheme but if the store closure lasts longer than the four week notice period there would be no payment in lieu of notice.
One of the staff members whose job has been cut said three out of seven employees had received an ‘effective immediately’ redundancy email.
In 2017 Goldex became the largest franchisee in the UK with over 75 stores, including franchises with Costa and Kaspers in Kent and Sussex.
According to the British Chambers of Commerce 66% of firms in the UK have furloughed some or all of their staff and 59% of firms have just three months or less cash flow in their reserves.
More than 140,000 firms have applied for help from the job retention scheme since it went live yesterday (April 20).
Goldex Investments has been contacted for comment.