Wetherspoons has said that nearly a third of its head office roles could be axed amid the coronavirus crisis. 

The pub chain told its head office staff that 110 to 130 of the 417 people risk losing their jobs as it scales back its expansion.

Chief executive John Hutson said that all head office staff, including those who are regionally based, will be affected. Those in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will escape the cuts.

In a statement this morning, Mr Hutson explained: ‘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.’

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He said Wetherspoon would work with staff who want to take voluntary redundancy, early retirement, or reduce their working hours in order to reduce the number of people it has to fire.

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Bosses will also be open to unpaid absences such as sabbaticals and study leave, if staff want to take them.

Staff who work in the company’s 873 pubs will not be impacted by the cuts.

Mr Hutson explained: ‘The company will listen to suggestions from staff to help avoid or reduce the number of compulsory redundancies which are required.

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

Mr Hutson added: ‘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 news follows a series of major job losses in recent weeks and months as businesses take stock of the damage caused by the pandemic and lockdown.

Already this week big names like WH Smith, Dixons Carphone, Pizza Express, Hays Travel and DW Sports have said they will cut around 6,000 staff between them.

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