UK Workers Losing Their Jobs- A Case Study Analysis

One of Britain’s leading business lobby groups has said almost a third of big businesses are likely to make job cuts over the next three months, while the Office for National Statistics has said the number of employees on company payrolls in the UK fell by almost 650,000 between March and June.

As coronavirus claims a growing number of jobs, the Guardian has spoken to some of those made redundant over the past three months.‘Jobseeker’s allowance doesn’t even pay the mortgage’ Neil Podmore, 54, worked as an assistant manager at a plant hire depot in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

“On 22 March I received a text from my line manager to say not to go into work the next day. I was furloughed on 80% pay and didn’t hear from my work again until I got the dreaded redundancy letter at the end of June. It was a shock. Just before lockdown I had been getting fantastic feedback and being told my knowledge and skills were invaluable. Across the company, I believe a number of people were made redundant. They gave me a week’s pay as notice.”
UK Workers Losing Their Jobs
UK Workers Losing Their Jobs

Podmore says he believes his job could have been saved had his employer used the job retention scheme to support him until the industry picked up. “The job market is practically non-existent at the moment. I am now stuck at home for the foreseeable, unable to provide for my family. You just feel dejected. I’ve been out of work for a couple of weeks and I’d say I’ve applied for 20 jobs in that time. Jobseeker’s allowance doesn’t even pay the mortgage, never mind anything else.”

‘We wanted to try for a child but that’s on hold now’ Nadine Pegrum Photograph: Nadine Pegrum/Guardian Community Nadine Pegrum, 25, from Essex, was made redundant from her job in the head office of a department store at the end of May.

“It’s disrupted our entire lives. We wanted to try for a child this year but that’s on hold now as we aren’t in the right financial position. We also want to save for a mortgage but we can’t. We can manage rent, but it’s going to be tight.”

Pegrum had been in her role for 10 months, and so did not qualify for redundancy pay, while her husband has just finished a university course and has found job-hunting “really difficult”. Pegrum has taken a temporary job at a supermarket to help pay the rent and bills.

“We’ve both been applying for jobs, but it’s going to be really tough. Places across the industry aren’t hiring as much, and I’m in competition with a load of people with the same skills. I’m so apprehensive. We both hoped to have full-time jobs this year. It was supposed to be our year.”

‘I’m applying for jobs every day’ Kris Kris, 37, started his job as a web developer in Somerset at the end of February and was made redundant in May after the company’s application for furlough was rejected. “I was told that I didn’t meet the furlough criteria, but I haven’t got a clue why not. The company just couldn’t afford to keep me on.”

At the same time, Kris’s landlord decided to sell the house he was living in, and he will be evicted at the end of next month. He says he has no family or friends nearby to stay with, and has registered as homeless with his council.

“There’s not much I can do. Signing on to universal credit means estate agents won’t accept you. I’m applying for jobs every day, but there’s not a lot in the market, especially because people are working from home, and in web design you have to pay for the software. There’s not many jobs going.

“It’s caused me anxiety and depression. It’s just constant pressure, and nothing seems to get better. It’s only a matter of weeks [before he has to leave his home]. Time’s running out.”

‘I called and begged and cried’ Marco Genuardi, 31, from Watford, worked in recruitment and customer service for almost a year until he was made redundant on 1 May. “I was made redundant with immediate effect – no notice, no redundancy pay. The business went bust.”

Genuardi, who moved from Italy to the UK in 2000, was in the process of getting settled status at the time of the redundancy, so sought help at the Italian embassy but found it closed due to the pandemic. He says he was “locked out” of universal credit payments because the service was so busy. “I called and called, and begged and cried and all sorts – my journal with universal credit is a mess – but in the end I basically gave up.”

He finally received a universal credit payment in late May, but by then things were dire, he says. “It opened my eyes to how much missing one month’s salary can flip your life upside down.”

‘There’s an overwhelming fear for the future’ Rebecca, 39, worked as a payroll manager at a large travel company in the north-west that collapsed in May. She was part of the team administering the company’s closure and redundancies.

“There was lots of anger, misplaced or otherwise, at the company, including the payroll team, so it was being directed at me when I was losing my job too.” She says it was “nothing short of a nightmare”.

“There’ve been many sleepless nights trying to work out how to cover rent, and applying for jobs I wouldn’t even have considered. The anxiety is overwhelming. I turn 40 next year and I’ve lost my access to a pretty generous pension scheme.” Rebecca has accepted a job administering payrolls remotely, which pays around half of her previous salary. While this will help with bills, she is concerned about the stability of her job.

“I’m worried about how this new job will pan out, and with everything that’s occurred I’ve found myself falling into debt. There’s an overwhelming fear for the future. It’s a huge strain, I really can’t overstate it.”

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