British bike retailer chain Evans Cycles is expected to cut more than 300 jobs at its 55 stores, bringing its workforces from 813 down to 475 employees, despite the pandemic bike boom that has given the bike industry unprecedented levels of demand.
Evans Cycles was bought by controversial British billionaire Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group when the chain faced severe financial trouble in 2018. At the time, Evans Cycles employed 1,300 people, and the sale caused a stir about the loss of those jobs and other negative changes, even prompting a takeover of the Evans Cycles Instagram by a disgruntled employee. Now, Frasers Group aims to cut even more costs.
The remaining workers will have to reapply for their jobs, and managers will be expected to work 45 hours each week, up from 40,
The Guardian reported. They will also be moved to zero-hour contracts or what Frasers Group calls “casual worker agreements,” meaning that they will not be guaranteed regular work hours. Frasers Group pledged to stop using zero-hour contracts five years ago after the group faced criticism from unions and members of parliament. However, nothing changed, and the issue remains polarizing.
Evans Cycles employees learned about these changes last week via an internal document. A note to staff read, “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.”
Frasers has not offered any comment on the matter.