Winners & losers: Woodies owners to take pay cut while airlines are thrown a lifeline

DIY retailer the Grafton Group said its chief executive and financial officer will take 20% pay cuts along with a suspension on the company's bonus scheme during the Covid-19 crisis.
Winners & losers: Woodies owners to take pay cut while airlines are thrown a lifeline
The Grafton Group, which operates Woodie's, has suspended the company's bonus scheme as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

DIY retailer the Grafton Group said its chief executive and financial officer will take 20% pay cuts along with a suspension on the company’s bonus scheme during the Covid-19 crisis.

The company operates the Woodie’s chain of hardware stores along with Chadwicks and Cork Builders Providers.

CEO Gavin Slark and Chief Financial Officer David Arnold have voluntarily requested that their base salaries and pension contributions are temporarily reduced by 20 per cent with immediate effect.

They have also voluntarily requested the suspension of the Bonus Scheme for 2020 and the postponement of awards under the Long Term Incentive Plan, scheduled to be granted in April 2020, for further consideration by the company’s Remuneration Committee following the announcement of this year’s interim results.

The Chairman, Michael Roney and the non-executive directors have also decided that their fees should be temporarily reduced by 20 per cent with immediate effect.

Travel agents TUI has said they are cancelling holidays for customers until mid-May.

"Due to the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19, the Department of Foreign Affairs have advised against all but essential travel.

"Unfortunately, this means that we’re no longer able to offer TUI holidays travelling on or before 14 May 2020, or Marella Cruises sailings travelling on or before 31 May 2020," the company said.

Bord Gáis parent company Centrica will furlough around 3,800 British Gas employees in the UK as the coronavirus pandemic forces the company to scale back operations.

Centrica employs 20,000 people in Britain. “We’ve had to scale back some of our operations to focus on emergency work only and looking after our vulnerable customers,” a spokeswoman said.

“In the short term we are placing some colleagues, who we can’t redeploy to emergency or vulnerable operations, into furlough to protect jobs and our business.

"They will receive 100% of their regular salary,” she said.

Also in the UK, Tesco has defended its decision to pay investors a £635m (€718m) dividend while accepting business tax relief from the British government aimed at helping distressed retailers through the coronavirus crisis.

Britain’s biggest retailer, which saw sales soar 30% in the three weeks before the country went into lockdown to contain the spread of the virus, estimated a hit of up to £925m (€1,051m) from the costs of dealing with the pandemic and warned it couldn’t give profit guidance for the current financial year.

Airlines have been given a further lifeline and are allowed to defer payment of charges for air navigation services in European airspace.

Eurocontrol - the European air traffic coordinating agency will give carriers the option to withhold payments for 14 months from February.

Carriers are normally billed by Eurocontrol two months in arrears for flights in European airspace.

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