The Unite union has threatened Whitbread with legal action over alleged poor consultation on planned job cuts and closures.

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

In April 2024, Whitbread announced it will invest £500m in a plan to exit 126 restaurants and convert 112 into hotel rooms, involving the loss of 1,500 jobs.

Unite claims that some of the 3,000 workers potentially affected by the plan have yet to be told which sites will close.

It further claims that a statutory 45-day consultation with those affected – kicked off in April – has not been conducted in a “genuine or meaningful way.”

Unite also says that there is no evidence Whitbread has considered alternatives to redundancy.

Several workers who live in accommodation linked to their job have been told they will be served with eviction notices in July and August, which is when the bulk of redundancies are expected to be implemented, according to The Guardian.

Whitbread claims that potentially affected employees were informed about the status of their sites on 30 April.

A Whitbread spokesperson told The Guardian: “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.”

Bryan Simpson, the lead organiser for the hospitality sector at Unite, said: “The way in which our members have been treated by Whitbread is morally reprehensible and potentially unlawful,” he said. “We firmly believe that senior management have known about these redundancies for several months before their workers found out via the media and many don’t even know.

“Despite refusing to answer questions from their workers and their union, the company now wishes to bulldoze through a consultation process which has been neither genuine nor meaningful, with the first terminations happening on 4 July.”