The Unite union has announced it will hold a demonstration at Whitbread’s annual general meeting (AGM) in Dunstable today (18 June) over the company’s plans to cut 1,500 jobs.

Unite claims Whitbread has refused to consult with the union and answer questions on the redundancy process.

The union is considering the launch of employment tribunal claims for unfair dismissal on behalf of its members, which include employees from the Brewers Fayre, Table Table, and Beefeater brands.

The news followed Whitbread’s announcement in April 2024, in which the group revealed it will exit 126 restaurants and convert 112 into hotel rooms, involving the loss of 1,500 jobs.

Unite said in a statement: “Despite Unite having hundreds of members, some of whom live in accommodation tied to their workplaces, at 100 impacted locations, Whitbread has refused to consult with the union or answer any of its basic questions on the redundancy process.

“Whitbread refuses to recognise trade unions and has long resisted Unite’s efforts to secure better jobs, terms and conditions for its workers. Unite is campaigning for the company to pay the real living wage as set out by the Living Wage Foundation. Despite its huge profits, the company refuses to do so.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham further commented: “Rarely is a company so shameless as to celebrate leaping profits and dividends by announcing mass job cuts.

“But generating runaway profits while trampling workers is business as usual for Whitbread. This is a firm that refuses to pay the real living wage and does not even provide company sick pay for its underpaid and overworked staff.

“Unite will be holding the company to account for its disgraceful race to the bottom behaviour and offering full support to our members impacted by these cruel and unnecessary redundancy plans.”

A Whitbread spokesperson told The Guardian last week: “We do not accept these allegations. We have a comprehensive and transparent collective consultation process, and are engaging directly with elected representatives and the individuals potentially affected.

“The consultation process is still ongoing and as part of this we are seeking to find alternative opportunities wherever possible through the roles created by this programme and our existing recruitment process that makes circa 15,000 hires each year. We expect to retain a significant proportion of those who wish to remain with us and are providing dedicated support to our teams.”