Wetherspoons to axe up to 130 head office roles as pubs struggle due to coronavirus downturn

WETHERSPOONS plans to axe up to 130 head office roles as pubs struggle due to a coronavirus downturn.

The move means a third of the pub chain's 417 workers at the head office are at risk of losing their jobs.

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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.

It will not affect workers in Wetherspoons' 873 pubs.

Mr 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.

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

He added that Wetherspoons would consider voluntary redundancy, early retirement, the option to transfer to a pub-based position and flexible working options in order to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Workers may also be given reduced working hours or unpaid periods of absence, including sabbaticals and study leave.

The announcement comes as the hospitality industry including pubs and restaurants have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

Pubs were forced to shut in March following government orders, and reopened on July 4.

More to follow…

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