Job losses at Clacton Pier amid ‘severe blow’ of second lockdown
PUBLISHED: 16:37 02 November 2020 | UPDATED: 16:37 02 November 2020
Jobs will be lost at Clacton Pier during the “severe blow” of a second coronavirus lockdown - after bosses confirmed it would be “impossible” to keep all staff on.
Billy Ball, director of the iconic seaside tourist attraction, said that while virtually all staff were kept on during the spring lockdown thanks to the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, it would not be possible this time around.
Mr Ball has not yet confirmed how many jobs will be lost, but said he was working hard to reduce the number of redundancies as much as possible.
“One minute we were preparing for keeping our rides open at weekends and looking forward to a busy winter and then that is all gone – and we don’t know for how long,” he said.
“We are now going into our quietest period and unfortunately the figures just don’t add up.
“Despite the benefit of the furlough scheme, there is still a significant cost to the business in retaining staff such as holiday entitlement, PAYE and pension payments at a time when there is nothing coming in.”
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The pier benefited from an immediate cash boost during the busy summer season, when attractions were allowed to reopen.
However, Mr Ball said coronavirus had not been the only difficulty.
“It started with changes to our ride deck layout which involved significant disruption, and this was followed by storm damage in February,” he said.
“The impact of that damage is ongoing, and the insurance claim has still not been settled which is delaying repairs.
“The following month we went into the first lockdown, with all its financial pressures - and now the second lockdown has come as a severe blow to all businesses – difficult does not start to cover it.”
Seasonal employees are usually laid off this time of year, but now that figure will include some full-time workers.
Mr Ball hopes the pier will be able to reopen in time for its magical Christmas Experience. Preparations for the festive period will continue during lockdown.
Work on other projects will also go ahead, such as installing the new Looping Star Roller Coaster for next year – an investment which has already been made.
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