Bidcorp puts staff on furlough due to drop in volumes

Bidcorp joins a growing list of major global employers putting staff on furlough.

Food services group Bidcorp on Tuesday announced it has had to ‘temporarily stand down and furlough some employees’,’ due to the impact of Covid-19. In a Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) statement, the group said its volumes in major markets were declining by up to 70 percent as hotels, restaurants and pubs remain temporarily closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“There is quite a bit of fluidity regarding various government wage assistance schemes in respect of eligibility, timing and coverage. We are doing our best to access these in all countries where we qualify” Bidcorp said, while also acknowledging the need to retain as much human capital capacity as will be possible in order to scale-up operations when the time comes. 

“In some areas, we have reduced working hours to between 60 percent and 80 percent of the normal shift and have requested staff to take annual/unpaid leave where possible to assist in managing these costs down and to protect jobs wherever possible,” read the SENS announcement. The group also said that the board and executive management team would be taking a 30 percent reduction in fees and/or salaries for the fourth quarter of the financial year if necessary, while all businesses within the group would implement salary reduction initiatives to align themselves with the impact on the general workforce.

Many businesses have responded to the Covid-19 crisis by placing their staff on furlough - that is, unpaid leave - rather than laying them off completely. The list of global companies who have taken this approach includes Scandinavian Airlines, for example, which has furloughed 90 percent of its staff, while the world’s largest hotel company, Marriott International, has begun to furlough tens of thousands of its employees.  Last week, Tesla sent an email to employees saying that, from 13 April, the company would furlough all nonessential workers until at least May 4, and reduce all employees' pay by at least 10 percent.