Some four thousands workers woke up this morning thankful for unemployment benefit claims after they received notice they will no longer work at Wall Disney, which quietly continued its massive layoff spree the night before Thanksgiving.
Walt Disney said late on Wednesday it would lay off about 32,000 workers, primarily at its theme parks, an increase of 4,000 from the 28,000 it announced in September, as the company struggles with limited customers due to the coronavirus pandemic. The layoffs will be in the first half of 2021, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Earlier this month, Disney said it was furloughing additional workers from its theme park in Southern California due to uncertainty over when the state would allow parks to reopen.
When the company reported its Q3 results earlier this month, it revealed how the coronavirus pandemic has hammered Disney’s traditional businesses like studios, parks and cruises while accelerating a pivot to streaming. The theme parks showed a loss of $1.1 billion in quarterly results this month, made up for by surging growth in its on-demand video platform Disney+, which smashed subscriber number estimates. Unfortunately, the high margin streaming business employs only a handful of people compared to the hordes of park workers who remain indefinitely redundant.
It’s gotten so bad, the company still can’t go back to its stock repurchasing days, when between 2015 and 2018 it would regularly buyback billions in Disney shares (money which it could have saved up and used to, you know, pay its workers during a crisis like now).
Disney’s theme parks in Florida and those outside the United States reopened earlier this year without seeing new major coronavirus outbreaks but with strict social distancing, testing and mask use. However, Disneyland Paris was forced to close again late last month when France imposed a new lockdown to fight a second wave of the coronavirus cases. The company’s theme parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo remain open.