Unions are calling for immediate support for workers in the hospitality and entertainment industries amid warnings of a jobs “crisis”.
The Omicron wave has caused a growing number of theatres and live events to cancel performances, alongside reports of a downturn in bookings, with pubs and restaurants facing similar problems.
Sharon Graham, leader of the Unite union, said: “The Government must bring forward a package of support for hospitality workers today.
“The uncertainty the Prime Minister is causing is devastating – workers don’t know if they will even have a job to go to next week. This is an appalling position to put people in.
“They still have rent to find and bills to pay but are seeing their incomes disappear before their eyes. They need help now.”
Bectu, the theatre workers union, has written to the Chancellor, urging him to provide urgent support for the industry to prevent a “jobs crisis”.
Head of Bectu, Philippa Childs, said: “We now face a New Year theatre crisis with a lack of leadership from Government, a rising wave of Omicron cases and an anxious public. This started as a public health crisis but it could quickly become a jobs crisis as well.
“With the recent tightening of Covid restrictions, there has been little commentary on the significant impact these will have on self-employed workers working in theatres and live events.
“Bectu is concerned that self-employed workers again appear to be at the back of the queue when it comes to planning for any further financial disruption to our everyday lives.
“We need to give business stability and the support for the creative industries to be open and trading safely, but we must also contemplate what happens if the Government imposes restrictions that actually or effectively closes them.”