March 25, 2020 / 11:10 PM / in 8 days

UPDATE 1-Australia's Flight Centre puts 6,000 staff on leave, says some may be laid off

(Adds details of other job losses, Flight Centre management pay)

March 26 (Reuters) - Flight Centre Travel Group said on Thursday that a third of its 20,000 strong workforce face temporary or permanent redundancy as the coronavirus hammers travel demand.

The travel agency said it will review staffing on a weekly basis, adding that it has become “unsustainable” to maintain its workforce at pre-virus levels given the severe global travel restrictions.

Of the 6,000 support and sales staff being let go for now, 3,800 will be stood down in Australia. The company added that it was looking whether further reductions may be needed.

The scale of the loss of livelihoods due to the coronavirus illustrates the uncertainty facing the corporate world as countries go into lockdown to halt the advance of the virus.

Travel restrictions have hit the aviation sector extremely hard, with Qantas Airways placing 20,000 of its staff on leave, while Virgin Australia stood down 8,000 of its employees.

Earlier on Thursday, Premier Investments Ltd said 9,000 of its global workforce will be hit by store closures, with almost all employees in Australia to be put on leave.

Senior executives and board members at Flight Centre will also see their pay halve until the end of the financial year.

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Stephen Coates

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