Approximately 28,000 employees or ‘cast members’ as they are called, working at Walt Disney’s theme parks in the US will be laid off. The part-time workers who make up about 67 per cent of the workforce, will be most impacted. These are workers who are paid by the hour. The layoffs are a result of the extreme restrictions placed by California amidst the ongoing pandemic, due to which it was difficult to reopen Disneyland.
Thousands of employees at its Florida and California resorts will be rendered jobless. These parks had about 110,000 employees before the pandemic. Ever since March, thousands of Disney’s workers employed at its theme parks have been on furlough with healthcare benefits. About 32,000 people are employed at the Disneyland complex alone, with a majority being unionised and on furlough for six months now. However, with no hope of complete normalcy returning any time soon, the Company had to decide to let go a significant portion of its workers.
While the maximum jobs will be slashed in its theme parks, some employees at the Disney Cruise Line and its retail stores will also be asked to leave.
Layoffs appear to be the only feasible option for Disney, given the overall uncertainty and the fact that even if the parks do start functioning, the capacity will have to be limited and social distancing norms will have to be followed.