BookMyShow announces cost-cutting measures, while UK Music demands more help for self-employed…
Indian ticketing giant BookMyShow is cutting or furloughing almost 300 jobs as part of “downsizing” measures.
The group’s founder, Ashish Hemrajani, told staff on Thursday that a total of 270 jobs would be impacted, with some leaving the company and others being placed on a leave of absence with medical insurance, gratuity and other benefits as per their employment standards.
The jobs impacted cut across various functions and teams and account for roughly one in six of BookMyShow’s 1,450 employees.
In an email circulated to staff, Hemrajani added that senior management have agreed to voluntary salary cuts of up to 50 per cent as well as forgoing bonuses and salary raises.
He wrote: “Today, we are at the stage where I have to share with you, the uncomfortable, unfortunate yet inevitable downsizing exercise that we have to take due to the unfavourable environment. None of these decisions reflect the quality of the work that any of these team members have put in.”
“We have had to resort to the task of reducing our costs to align them with what we believe will be greatly reduced revenues in the months to come.”
Concerts, movie showings and large public gatherings have been banned in India since March. The shutdown is estimated to have cost the Indian film industry over $130m in box office revenue, with many studios choosing to release their movies direct to TV rather than wait for cinemas to open.
BookMyShow announced a 52-per-cent year-on-year rise in group revenues to $75m in 2019. However, the business still lost around $14m for the year, although this was down by around 30 per cent compared to 2018.
UK Music acting chief executive Tom Kiehl has called on the Government to honour its pledge to ensure the self-employed get the same financial help as employees.
His intervention comes amid mounting fears that Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to wind down the support scheme for the self-employed, while continuing to give assistance to employees under the furlough scheme until October. The help for the self-employed is due to end on Sunday.
Under schemes created in March, around 2.3 million self-employed workers and more than eight million employees are getting help under the Government’s income grant scheme.
The Chancellor recently extended the furlough scheme for employees. However, nothing has yet been announced for freelancers and the self-employed under the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) — despite a Government pledge of “parity” of support for the two sectors to help them through the Covid-19 crisis.
Kiehl warned the Government must not leave the 72% of self-employed workers in the music industry “swinging in the wind” as they faced the prospect of a “cliff-edge” end to their financial support.
He said: “The Chancellor needs to act to lift the cloud of anxiety and uncertainty facing thousands of self-employed workers that make up 72% of the music industry’s workforce.
“By Rishi Sunak’s own admission the scheme is designed to provide a lifeline to musicians but many will still not be able to work for many months to come.
“I would urge the Government to give self-employed workers the parity they were promised when it comes to financial support from the Government to help them make ends meet.”
Under the self-employed support scheme, workers who qualify get 80% of their average earnings over recent years – up to a cap of £2,500 per month.