// Poundland shuts 100 stores temporarily due to coronavirus
// The discount retailer has outlined specific reasons for the closures
// Affected staff to receive 80% of average earnings in line with government’s Jobs Retention Scheme
Poundland has temporarily closed 100 of its 850 stores amid the coronavirus crisis, and said affected staff will receive 80 per cent of average earnings in line with the government’s Jobs Retention Scheme.
Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw said it had been informed by the discount retailer that it has asked employees from the stores to voluntarily agree to be furloughed.
Poundland said the reasons for the temporary closures include the locations of the stores being in a retail park or shopping centre, when there are a number of stores in the same area, or if there are not enough employees available to staff that particular store.
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“This is clearly a difficult time for shopworkers on the frontline of providing essential services during the coronavirus emergency,” Usdaw national officer Dave Gill said.
“We understand why the company feel the need to temporarily streamline the number of outlets and we have emphasised the need for furloughed workers to be volunteers.
“Usdaw continues in negotiations with the company, where we are calling for Poundland to top up the Government scheme, so that our members have no loss of income.”
Managing director Barry Williams said: “We served nearly three million customers last week with groceries and household essentials.
“It has been an amazing effort by all our colleagues. But people’s buying patterns are naturally changing as they stick to the government’s advice to stay at home and this is having an impact.
“The measures we’re taking, such as putting some stores into hibernation, will help us better serve communities from the majority of stores that remain open during this period of disruption.
“It will make sure we’re well placed for recovery once the country emerges from its current battle.”