A very short letter in Monday’s Times said, “Sir, can the word ‘unprecedented’ be made to self-isolate.” I have considerable sympathy with this sentiment, but we do live in unprecedented times, and Chapter has had to take some difficult decisions over the last week or so.
A combination of the building being closed, and most of our income streams drying up, has meant that many staff have no work for the duration of this lock down. We do not wish to embark on a programme of redundancies unless it is completely unavoidable. Accordingly we have decided to participate in the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ( CJRS ) which covers 80% of wages in most cases , subject to a maximum of £2,500 per month. We consulted with staff on the change in their terms and conditions and the majority of staff have now been put on furlough under the CJRS. The terms of the scheme mean that staff who are furloughed are unable to undertake any work for the Cathedral during that period.
A small number of staff will continue to work as normally as possible, though mostly from home, to ensure that essential functions can continue: these include, looking after the building, paying bills and doing all the work necessary to enable us to claim the money under CJRS, and taking forward the Development project. We will be reviewing the situation regularly and can adjust the number of staff on furlough at any time.
Chapter is very grateful to all staff for their understanding at this challenging and unsettling time. We will be keeping in regular touch with staff on furlough and we have put in place arrangements for pastoral support.
– Jenny Ellis, Chapter Canon and Chair of the HR Committee