J.D. Wetherspoon to cut more than 100 jobs

UK pub chain J.D. Wetherspoon could make up to 130 head office workers redundant this year as months of lockdown and social distancing have brought down beer sales.

Between 110 and 130 people’s jobs are at risk due to a downturn in Wetherspoon’s sales as well as the number of pubs in its portfolio shrinking over the past five years.

The restructuring will not affect staff working in pubs, CEO John Hutson said in a statement, adding that all head office staff will be affected “with the exception of those working directly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland”.

“The decision is mainly a result of a downturn in trade in the pub and restaurant industry generally,” Hutson said, as well as “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.”

“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’s is the latest hospitality business to undergo restructuring this year after the UK’s coronavirus lockdown forced bars and restaurants to close for almost four months.

And despite restaurants being able to open from 4 July, many have had to reduce their maximum service capacity to adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines, damaging future sales.

Pizza Express, Carluccio’s and  Casual Dining Group, which owns Café Rouge, have all said they will cut jobs in the past month or have been taken over.

High street restaurant chain Carluccio’s, which had already struggled to stay afloat since 2018, collapsed into administration on 30 March just 10 days after Boris Johnson told hospitality venues to shut their doors, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk.

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