PREMIER INN owner Whitbread has announced plans to cut up to 6,000 jobs following the coronavirus crisis.
It comes as the hospitality and travel industries continue to be hit by the pandemic.
Whitbread, which also owns Brewers Fayre and Beefeater, said the potential job cuts represent 18% of its total workforce.
The company hopes a “significant proportion” of the job cuts will be made through voluntary redundancy.
It also revealed plans to lower contracted hours for some staff.
In its financial update today, Whitbread said its sales plunged by almost 80% during the first half of its financial year to August 27 following the coronavirus lockdown.
It comes after hotels and restaurants across the UK were ordered to close by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on March 24.
Whitbread says it expects demand to remain at lower levels following the coronavirus crisis.
Premier Inn hotels opened again in England and Northern Ireland on July 4, followed by July 13 in Wales and July 15 in Scotland.
Brewers Fayre also started welcoming customers back from July 4.
Almost half of businesses to cut jobs or stop hiring, CBI predicts
Alison Brittain, chief executive of Whitbread, said: “With demand for travel remaining subdued, we are now having to make some very difficult decisions.
“It is with great regret that today we are announcing our intention to enter into a consultation process that could result in up to 6,000 redundancies in the UK.
“It is hoped that a significant proportion can be achieved voluntarily.”