Evans Cycles will reportedly axe up to half its workforce, with those retained likely to see sweeping changes to the terms of their contracts in line with other businesses held by the Fraser Group.
The Guardian reported last night that over 300 jobs were to be axed across the business, which currently operates 55 stores.
A statement sent out to the chain’s workers said that there would be a consolidation to around 475 staff across the business, significantly reduced from the 813 filed on the latest Companies House statement.
The national newspaper likewise reported a move to align contracts with those that the Fraser Group has racked up headlines over, the controversial Zero Hour agreement, badged as “casual worker agreements” in the message sent to staff.
Zero Hour contracts have been the subject of scrutiny in Parliament and the Fraser Group has been a focal point of the debate. In 2016 the group pledged to do away with these contracts, but a year later opted not to follow through.
Today MPs are turning up the heat on the back of fresh headlines, Labour MP John McDonnnell tweeting: “The fire and rehire strategy to cut wages and impose zero hours contracts is gathering pace. Employers are seizing on the pandemic as the best opportunity they have had for decades to reverse hard won gains by workers & their unions.
Furthermore, it is said that management will see contracts boosted from 40 to 45-hour week arrangements.
An employee questioned by the Guardian revealed that a re-application process for the available jobs would soon take place.
“We cannot rely on old ways of running our business and we must adapt. These changes will look to address the cost of sales ratio in our stores and ensure that we are able to be more flexible with our cost base out of peak trading and during difficult trading periods,” offered the message sent to staff.
Having suffered a turbulent Covid-19 period, where inventory levels were not held at high enough levels to meet unprecedented consumer demand, Evans Cycles came in for heavy and sustained criticism across multiple social platforms for its delivery pledges and customer service availability. The chain did also go back and forth between opening and closing stores as the pandemic evolved.