A UNION representing hospitality, tourism and events workers has called for the furlough scheme to be reinstated following tighter Covid restrictions being introduced across the UK.

Ministers in Wales will meet tomorrow to review the restrictions ahead of Christmas, although first minister Mark Drakeford said on Friday that any changes would not affect people’s plans for Christmas Day.

The rise in cases of the Omicron variant has meant many people have been cancelling restaurant and event bookings – with more than 750 people cancelling at Mamma Lina’s across their two restaurants.


Following this wave of cancellations, and with uncertainty over whether stricter restrictions will be introduced, Unite Hospitality has called for the furlough scheme to be reintroduced.

“With the new variant spreading much more rapidly, we not only face infection, serious illness, and isolation from friends and loved ones over the festive period, but the collapse of our industry and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK,” said a Unite spokesperson.

“What we urgently need is the reinstatement of the furlough scheme and full sick pay at 100 per cent of the real living wage to come from the UK Government, prioritising the sectors that are most high risk.

“In a standard work day, the average hospitality worker comes into contact with potentially hundreds, if not thousands of people.

“The truth is that even if businesses stay open, without the financial support required to close, customer confidence is already impacted to the extent that bookings and ticket sales have fallen off a cliff in the last week or two.

“In an industry that relies on reaching a certain operational capacity to hit profitable margins, this drop-off in custom is a death sentence for many businesses, and the careers of those that work in them.

“The lack of certainty will have nearly as devastating an impact as forced closure without furlough.”

Unite Hospitality said it would call on the Welsh Government to put pressure on the UK Government to ensure that the furlough scheme is reinstated.

“We will also be seeking assurances that any grants offered in future ensure that worker’s terms and conditions are protected and more jobs are created,” said a spokesperson.