Bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis announces plans to cut 650 jobs

Britain’s biggest bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis announces plans to cut 650 jobs after Covid crisis slashes demand for new vehicles

  • Manufacturer will cut 200 jobs in Surrey, 160 in Falkirk and 90 in Scarborough
  • The firm, which was sold last year, will also make 200 cuts in support functions
  • Unite’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty described announcement as ‘devastating’
  • Demand has dropped after less passengers used public transport in lockdown

Britain’s biggest bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis has announced plans to cut 650 jobs after the Covid-19 crisis slashed the demand for new vehicles.

The company is set to cut 200 jobs at its site in Guildford, Surrey, 160 in Falkirk, 90 in Scarborough and 200 in support functions across its bases.

The business was sold to a Canadian firm, the NFI Group, last year for £320million.

But demand for new buses has dropped since less passengers have been using public transport during the coronavirus lockdown.  

Britain’s biggest bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, bus made by the company pictured above, plans to cut 650 jobs after the Covid-19 crisis slashes the demand for new vehicles

Managing director Paul Davies said: ‘We have no choice but to implement these tough decisions to protect the company’s future health.

‘We remain confident that the situation will improve in time, and we are well placed to take advantage when that happens, but right now we have to adjust to our new economic reality.

‘We continue to call upon the UK and Scottish governments to urgently introduce meaningful support to facilitate demand for new buses and coaches, not only to prevent further damage to UK bus and coach manufacturing that could threaten additional production sites, but to help build back better with a green recovery that delivers cleaner air for our towns and cities.’

Unite’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty described the announcement as ‘devastating’, adding the union will not allow the ‘savage cuts’ to go unopposed.

Regional officer Willie Thomson told the BBC: ‘We believe these actions are premature and urge the company to continue to explore all options to protect jobs and livelihoods. We stand ready to work with them to achieve this.

‘Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the bus industry with the collapse of new orders from operators due to the crisis.’ 

The company plans to cut 200 jobs at its site in Guildford, Surrey, 160 in Falkirk (file photo of site, above), 90 in Scarborough and 200 in support functions across its bases

Demand for new buses has dropped since less passengers have been using public transport during the coronavirus lockdown (file photo of an Alexander Dennis bus in Mexico City)

The job losses add to many thousands already announced as the pandemic wreaks havoc on Britain’s businesses, with Marks & Spencer announcing on Tuesday that it will axe 7,000 jobs as part of a further shake-up of its stores and management. 

It has been predicted some 6.5million jobs in total will go in the UK because of the coronavirus disaster. 

It has led to calls for a targeted support scheme for the sector amid concerns the Government’s action will not be enough to save jobs or specifically help or retrain those in retail who have lost their roles.

The Government’s furlough scheme for workers comes to an end in October and while it has launched the back to work bonus, offering firms £1,000 for every furloughed staff member a business retains, there are fears there will still be thousands more retail jobs axed.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled his Plan for Jobs in the summer statement alongside a 15 per cent cut in VAT to add to the 100% business rates relief already available for eligible businesses.

British Airways has so far announced the largest cull, signalling that it may have to cut as many as 12,000. 

The likes of Laura Ashley, Cath Kidston and Oasis are among the other big-name brands that have collapsed this year.

How more than 187,000 jobs have now been lost or are at risk amid the coronavirus pandemic 

M&S has become one of the latest employers to cut a large numbers of jobs, saying it plans to cut around 7,000 over the next three months across stores.

It follows cuts announced by fellow retailer John Lewis, sushi chain Yo! and clothing store River Island last week. 

And around 14,000 jobs could be on the brink at struggling department store Debenhams, with plans to liquidate the business being drawn up in case other options for saving the company – such as selling it – fall through. 

Here are the major potential job losses announced since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed on March 23:

Total: 188,369

  • August 20 – Alexander Dennis – 650
  • August 18 – M&S – 700 
  • August 17: easyJet: 670 
  • August 17: Jet2: 102 
  • August 16: Debenhams: 14,000 at risk 
  • August 14 – John Lewis – 399 at risk 
  • August 14 – Yo! Sushi – 250
  • August 14 – River Island – 350
  • August 12 – NatWest – 550
  • August 11 – InterContinental Hotels – 650 worldwide
  • August 11 – Debenhams – 2,500
  • August 7 – Evening Standard – 115
  • August 6 – Travelex – 1,300
  • August 6 – Wetherspoons – 110 to 130
  • August 5 – M&Co – 380
  • August 5 – Arsenal FC – 55
  • August 5 – WH Smith – 1,500
  • August 4 – Dixons Carphone – 800
  • August 4 – Pizza Express – 1,100 at risk
  • August 3 – Hays Travel – up to 878
  • August 3 – DW Sports – 1,700 at risk
  • July 31 – Byron – 651
  • July 30 – Pendragon – 1,800
  • July 29 – Waterstones – unknown number of head office roles
  • July 28 – Selfridges – 450
  • July 27 – Oak Furnitureland – 163 at risk
  • July 23 – Dyson – 600 in UK, 300 overseas
  • July 22 – Mears – fewer than 200
  • July 20 – Marks & Spencer – 950 at risk
  • July 17 – Azzurri Group (owns Zizzi and Ask Italian) – up to 1,200
  • July 16 – Genting – 1,642 at risk
  • July 16 – Burberry – 150 in UK, 350 overseas
  • July 15 – Banks Mining – 250 at risk
  • July 15 – Buzz Bingo – 573 at risk
  • July 14 – Vertu – 345
  • July 14 – DFS – up to 200 at risk
  • July 9 – General Electric – 369
  • July 9 – Eurostar – unknown number
  • July 9 – Boots – 4,000
  • July 9 – John Lewis – 1,300 at risk
  • July 9 – Burger King – 1,600 at risk
  • July 7 – Reach (owns Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers) – 550
  • July 6 – Pret a Manger – 1,000 at risk
  • July 2 – Casual Dining Group (owns Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge) – 1,909
  • July 1 – SSP (owns Upper Crust) – 5,000 at risk
  • July 1 – Arcadia (owns TopShop) – 500
  • July 1 – Harrods – 700
  • July 1 – Virgin Money – 300
  • June 30 – Airbus – 1,700
  • June 30 – TM Lewin – 600
  • June 30 – Smiths Group – ‘some job losses’
  • June 25 – Royal Mail – 2,000
  • June 24 – Jet2 – 102
  • June 24 – Swissport – 4,556
  • June 24 – Crest Nicholson – 130
  • June 23 – Shoe Zone – unknown number of jobs in head office
  • June 19 – Aer Lingus – 500
  • June 17 – HSBC – unknown number of jobs in UK, 35,000 worldwide
  • June 15 – Jaguar Land Rover – 1,100
  • June 15 – Travis Perkins – 2,500
  • June 12 – Le Pain Quotidien – 200
  • June 11 – Heathrow – at least 500
  • June 11 – Bombardier – 600
  • June 11 – Johnson Matthey – 2,500
  • June 11 – Centrica – 5,000
  • June 10 – Quiz – 93
  • June 10 – The Restaurant Group (owns Frankie and Benny’s) – 3,000
  • June 10 – Monsoon Accessorise – 545
  • June 10 – Everest Windows – 188
  • June 8 – BP – 10,000 worldwide
  • June 8 – Mulberry – 375
  • June 5 – Victoria’s Secret – 800 at risk
  • June 5 – Bentley – 1,000
  • June 4 – Aston Martin – 500
  • June 4 – Lookers – 1,500
  • May 29 – Belfast International Airport – 45
  • May 28 – Debenhams (in second announcement) – ‘hundreds’ of jobs
  • May 28 – EasyJet – 4,500 worldwide
  • May 26 – McLaren – 1,200
  • May 22 – Carluccio’s – 1,000
  • May 21 – Clarks – 900
  • May 20 – Rolls-Royce – 9,000
  • May 20 – Bovis Homes – unknown number
  • May 19 – Ovo Energy – 2,600
  • May 19 – Antler – 164
  • May 15 – JCB – 950 at risk
  • May 13 – Tui – 8,000 worldwide
  • May 12 – Carnival UK (owns P&O Cruises and Cunard) – 450
  • May 11 – P&O Ferries – 1,100 worldwide
  • May 5 – Virgin Atlantic – 3,150
  • May 1 – Ryanair – 3,000 worldwide
  • April 30 – Oasis Warehouse – 1,800
  • April 29 – WPP – unknown number
  • April 28 – British Airways – 12,000
  • April 23 – Safran Seats – 400
  • April 23 – Meggitt – 1,800 worldwide
  • April 21 – Cath Kidston – 900
  • April 17 – Debenhams – 422
  • March 31 – Laura Ashley – 268
  • March 30 – BrightHouse – 2,400 at risk
  • March 27 – Chiquito – 1,500 at risk

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