Wetherspoon to axe a third of head office jobs

6 August 2020, 10:10

Wetherspoon is to axe up to a third of its office staff
Wetherspoon is to axe up to a third of its office staff. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Almost a third of jobs at Wetherspoon offices across the UK could be cut as deals with the effects of Covid-19, the company has warned.

Between 110 and 130 positions are at risk, bosses told the 417 people employed in head office roles and in the pub chain's offices across the country.

Chief executive John Hutson said that no firm decisions had been made yet and he would listen to staff in a bid to avoid compulsory redundancies.

The decision will affect all head office staff, apart from those in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but the company confirmed it will not affect pub workers.

Wetherspoon chief executive, John Hutson, said: "The company has written to all 417 people employed at head office (including those regionally based) to inform them that a possible 110 to 130 positions are at risk of redundancy.

"The decision is mainly a result of a downturn in trade in the pub and restaurant industry generally, a reduction in the company's rate of expansion and a reduction in the number of pubs operated from 955 in 2015 to 873 today.

"We should emphasise that no firm decisions have been made at this stage.

"All head office employees will be affected by the process, with the exception of those working directly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"The company will listen to suggestions from staff to help avoid or reduce the number of compulsory redundancies which are required."

Wetherspoon is the latest British firm to announce redundancies
Wetherspoon is the latest British firm to announce redundancies. Picture: PA Images

Bosses added they will also be open to employees taking unpaid absences such as sabbaticals and study leave if they wish to.

"These include voluntary redundancy or early retirement, including an enhanced redundancy package to employees that volunteer, the option to transfer to a pub-based position (where suitable positions are available), flexible working options, reduced working hours, unpaid periods of absence (including sabbaticals and study leave)", Mr Hutson said.

"Wetherspoon is proposing to collectively consult with employees through an employment representative committee, which will be established for this purpose."

The pub chain is the latest to announce redundancies after major employers across the country deal with the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

Nearly 4,500 jobs have been lost at major British employers in only the first two working days in August.

Dixons Carphone, Pizza Express, Hays Travel and DW Sports have all announced major redundancies or plans that could put hundreds of jobs at risk this month.

It follows the loss of more than 92,000 jobs at British firms in the three months to August.

The Bank of England warned on Thursday that the country's surge in unemployment could reach 7.5% - a figure not seen since the financial crash in 2008.