Disney laying off 28,000 workers amid continued strain from pandemic

Disney is laying off 28,000 employees, the entertainment giant confirmed on Tuesday, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hammer its theme park operations, including the continued closure of its California parks and reduced capacity at its open parks in Florida and around the world.

The cuts, which will affect workers in the parks, experiences and consumer products segment, were detailed in a letter to employees on Tuesday. About 67 percent of the affected workers were part-time employees but it’s unclear what the breakdown for each department was. CNBC was the first to report news of the cuts.

Disney has furloughed many workers since April and was continuing to pay health benefits. However, given the strain of the pandemic it is no longer able to continue doing so, the company said.

“For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company,” Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products division, said in the staff memo.

“We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible. However, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity,” D’Amaro said.

D’Amaro also noted how “heartbreaking as it is to take this action” but said it was the “only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of Covid-19 on our business.”

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