Fast food chain KFC to add 5,400 new jobs in UK, Ireland

FILE PHOTO: A Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) bucket of mixed fried and grilled chicken is seen in this picture illustration taken April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/Illustration

LONDON (Reuters) - Fast food chain KFC said it will add 5,400 jobs across its 965 restaurants in the UK and Ireland by the end of 2020, in a rare piece of good news for Britain’s pandemic-hit jobs market.

Britain’s unemployment rate hit its highest level in more than three years earlier in October and is expected to jump next month after the government’s broad coronavirus job-protection plan ends.

Hospitality has been one of the worst-affected sectors, forcing finance minister Rishi Sunak to offer it more help on Thursday to try to save jobs.

But despite huge swathes of Britain facing local lockdown restrictions, KFC said on Friday it planned to hire 5,400 new staff over the next 2-1/2 months.

The new jobs would be partly supported by the government’s Kickstart scheme, which helps employers create opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds at risk from long-term unemployment, KFC said.

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison