Greggs in talks with workers about ‘cutting hours to save jobs’
PUBLISHED: 08:41 29 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:09 29 September 2020
Greggs says it is in consultation with its staff about cutting some employees’ hours “to minimise the risk of job losses” when the furlough scheme ends at the end of October.
The high street bakery chain said sales had picked up over the past month as its recovery continues following the start of the coronavirus crisis.
But it admitted August had been “a challenging month” with the closure of seated areas meaning it couldn’t benefit from chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme.
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But it is now bringing back more of its product range – including a broader sandwich range and classic favourites such as Belgian buns – and 100 of its larger shops have now reopened their customer seating with social distancing in place.
“The outlook for trading remains uncertain, with rising Covid-19 infection rates leading to increasing risks of supply chain interruption and further restrictions on customer activities out of the home,” the company said in a statement.
“In these challenging conditions our teams continue to work hard and have proven our ability to operate with social distancing and adapt to new digital channels.”
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Its immediate priority was to complete the consultation with workers on the proposed changes to staffing, it said.
With the Job Retention Scheme planned to end in October we are taking steps to ensure that our employment costs reflect the estimated level of demand from November onwards. “With business activity levels remaining below normal for the foreseeable future we must change the way we work to be as productive and flexible as we can in order to protect as many jobs as possible for the long term.
“We have completed a review of our activity and requirements in every part of the business and are now proposing a series of changes which are the subject of a collective consultation with union and employee representatives.
“Our aim is to minimise the risk of job losses by negotiating reduced hours in our shops and we will update on the outcome of the consultation when concluded.”
In the 39 weeks to 26 September 2020 the company said it had opened 38 new shops and closed 49 shops, taking the total to 2,039 Greggs shops (1,720 company-managed shops and 319 franchised).
It has now restarted elements of its shop opening programme, and expects to open a net of 20 shops in 2020, mainly in sites with car access.
The Newcastle-based chain has shops in towns across East Anglia including Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Hadleigh, Colchester, Sudbury, Beacon Hill near Needham Market and Stowmarket.
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