14:15 GMT31 October 2020
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    The Cineworld group announced the closure of all its 127 UK sites on Monday after the release of the new James Bond film was postponed until April. But angry staff say they first heard the news via the media.

    Cineworld tried to sell unwanted stocks pick 'n' mix sweets to its staff before laying them off, a staff member has said.

    And one worker at a Glasgow cinema said she and colleagues found out they would be out of a job on Thursday from the news, not their bosses, the Mail Online reported on Tuesday.

    "The signs have been there and they've even tried to sell off their Pick n Mix stock to us," said the staff member at the Renfield Street cinema, who did not want to be named. "They wanted to sell it to us by October 8, which now makes a lot of sense. The atmosphere is pretty tough and you could cut the tension with a knife."

    Cineworld Group PLC announced on Monday that it was temporarily closing down all 127 of its sites in the UK and 536 Regal cinemas in the US from October 8, blaming the decision on the coronavirus pandemic lockdown and the postponement of the release of the new James Bond film No Time to Die until next spring.

    Executives at the firm are reportedly set to tell Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who urged movie fans to go back to cinemas on Monday, that the industry is now no longer "viable". 

    The whistle-blower added that staff were sent an email on Monday apologising for them having to learn of their impending redundancies - with the UK government's furlough scheme ending on October 31 - via the media. 

    "We had been told there was a chance our hours would be getting reduced and a lot of it would depend on the Bond film," she said. "It is clear they must have known it was happening and they didn't tell us first. One of the issues is the end to the furlough scheme and they even mentioned that in their email to us."

    Another Cineworld work said staff felt "betrayed" by the company.

    "None of us have been told a single thing yet, so me and my work colleagues are sort of in panic mode right now, wondering what's going to happen to our jobs, especially this close to Christmas."

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    redundancy, coronavirus, COVID-19, James Bond, cinema
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