As we revealed yesterday, more than 240 UK workers who were let go by the exhibition giant wrote to group CEO Mooky Greidinger calling for the exhibitor to reinstate staff, especially in light of the government’s new plans to help companies pay employees during the crisis.
A spokesperson for Cineworld told us today, “We made a number of offers to our employees earlier this week including partial payments until we are able to re-open cinemas. Following the announcement by the government yesterday around the support they are now offering the leisure industry, including cinemas and their employees, we have written to our employees to let them know that we are currently reviewing this and exploring whether there are alternative options.”
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We have seen a copy of the letter sent from CEO Mooky Greidinger to employees. An extract from the letter reads:
“As of tonight the Government has put in place a number of people measures, which I was pleased to see.
“In view of this and our communication earlier this week, if we have offered you the option of partial payment, you can put on hold any decision on this and we will come back to you with more information as soon as we can.
“If your employment has been terminated, again we will come back to you as soon as we can and in particular, whether we can offer an alternative option to you.”
The rapid terminations this week prompted a backlash on social media and comments from multiple MPs, including prominent Labour politician Yvette Cooper.
Cineworld workers we have spoken to estimate that thousands of UK staff have been impacted by the job losses. Many are on zero hours contracts, low pay salaries or part-time contracts. A private Facebook group set up by former workers has drawn 725 members in two days.
Cineworld closed all of its 125 sites (including the Picturehouse cinemas) in the UK this week following the government’s advice for people to avoid public venues due to the spread of COVID-19. The day before, the company’s share price hit an all-time low. It has rebounded to a degree since but still remains around 74% down since January.
The chain, which is the world’s second biggest, employs tens of thousands of staff worldwide and posted global revenue of $4.4BN last year. Cineworld owns the Regal circuit in the U.S.