Pizza Express confirms 73 restaurants to close putting 1,100 jobs at risk

PIZZA Express has confirmed plans to close 73 restaurants, putting 1,100 jobs at risk.

The pizza chain is the latest business to announce job cuts and store closures following the coronavirus crisis.

In an update last month, Pizza Express said its sales were dented by the temporary closure of all its restaurants, as well as the cost of reopening.

It first announced plans to shut branches and cut jobs in August 2020, but these proposals have now been approved by creditors.

Pizza Express said 89% of its creditors voted for its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which will also see it lower the rents on its existing restaurants.

A CVA doesn't mean the company has gone bust – instead it allows businesses that are struggling to look for cost-cutting ways to keep it going.

Job losses since June 2020

MANY firms have announced job cuts since June as a result of the coronavirus lockdown. These include:

  • Shoe chain Aldo collapsed into administration with five stores permanently closed
  • Victoria's Secret plunged into administration, putting 800 jobs at risk
  • Fashion chain Quiz put its shop business into administration in , putting 82 stores at risk
  • British Gas owners cuts 5,000 jobs, over half of which will be in management
  • Airbus announces 1,700 job losses. It expects cuts to be made by summer 2021
  • TM Lewin says it will close all 66 of its UK shops, putting 600 jobs at risk
  • Harveys Furniture goes into administration resulting in 240 immdiate job losses and puts another 1,000 at risk
  • Upper Crust plans to make 5,000 out of its 9,000-strong workforce redundant
  • EasyJet says it plans to close hubs at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle, putting 4,500 jobs at risk
  • John Lewis is reported to be planning to cut jobs and permanently close department stores
  • Harrods has said it is consulting on cutting 680 jobs
  • Virgin Money, which owns Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, will cut 300 jobs
  • Topshop owner Arcadia has announced plans to cut 500 office staff
  • Royal Mail is expected to cut 2,000 jobs as a result of coronavirus
  • BMW and Mini have announced they will axe 520 jobs at Birmingham, Oxford and Swindon plants
  • Pret a Manger is cutting 2,800 jobs with 30 stores to close
  • Costa Coffee is axing 1,650 jobs – it hasn't announced any store closures at this stage

Pizza Express needed a minimum of 75% of creditors to vote in favour of the deal to give it the green light.

The restructuring will also see the company's debt pile reduced from £735million to £319million.

Pizza Express currently has 355 restaurants open in the UK, with more than 30 due to reopen in the coming weeks.

Other restaurant chains to confirm store closures include Zizzi owner Azzurri Group, which announced in July 2020 that it would permanently shut 75 branches.

Frankie & Benny's owner The Restaurant Group has unveiled plans to shut 125 branches, while Byron Burger is shutting 31 restaurants, around half of its UK sites.

What are my redundancy rights?

BEFORE making you unemployed, your employer should still carry out a fair redundancy process.

You are entitled to be consulted on the redundancy lay-off first and to receive a statutory redundancy payment, as long as you've been working somewhere for at least two years.

How much you're entitled to depends on your age and length of service, although this is capped at 20 years. You'll get:

  • Half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22,
  • One week’s pay for each full year you were 22 or older, but under 41,
  • One and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 or older.

Sadly, you won't be entitled to a payout if you've been working for your employer for fewer than two years.

There should be a period of collective consultation as well as time for individual ones if your employer wants to make 20 or more employees redundant within 90 days or each other.

You are also entitled to appeal the decision by claiming unfair dismissal within three months of being let go.

The Sun has asked Pizza Express for a full list of locations for its store closures and we'll update this article when we know more.

In a statement, Pizza Express said: "The successful vote unlocks the company's ability to actively address the challenges brought by Covid-19, securing over 9,000 jobs in the UK.

"Regrettably, the CVA proposes the closure of 73 restaurants, putting 1,100 jobs at risk.

"The directors of Pizza Express thank its creditors for their support during this period and look forward to ongoing partnership as the hospitality industry recovers to growth."

Boots, John Lewis, M&S, and WH Smith have also confirmed mass redundancies.

Gatwick has also announced plans to cut 600 jobs – almost a quarter of workers due to coronavirus.

While Ryanair has said it plans to axe 3,250 jobs, while British Airways has warned it needs to cut 12,000 jobs.

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