In an announcement on 6 August, JDW emphasised that redundancies would be confined to its head office operations and that no staff working in its 873 pubs would be affected.
The news comes around six months after the operator raised in the region of £141m, before fees, from a share placing in April 2020.
“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,” JDW chief executive John Hutson said.
JDW’s planned redundancies come after survey of the British Beer and Pub Association’s members found that more than one-in-three pubs (37%) struggled to break even during the first month of post-lockdown trade.
“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,” Hutson continued, stressing that “no firm decisions” have been made at this stage.
Open to staff suggestions
News of more than 100 head office redundancies comes less than a month after JDW announced plans to undercut supermarket meal deals off the back of the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.
“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,” Hutson added.
“The company will listen to suggestions from staff to help avoid or reduce the number of compulsory redundancies which are required.
“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).
“Wetherspoon is proposing to collectively consult with employees through an employment representative committee, which will be established for this purpose.”