Evans Cycles will make more than 300 staff members redundant as well as adding the remaining employees to zero-hour contracts as the company looks to cut costs as much as possible, according to reports.
The shop was bought out of administration by Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group in 2018, which saw the store numbers drop from 62 to 55.
Management at the company will be moving from 40-hour contracts to 45-hour contracts, but the rest will have to work under a zero-hour contract, or what Frasers Group calls a ‘casual workers agreement’ instead of the original fixed-hours which usually saw staff working at least eight hours a week guaranteed.
A message sent to staff members said: “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 Group pledged to ditch the zero-hour contracts around five years ago after it faced heavy criticism from politicians, but then did say it would continue with them claiming employees wanted to work under the contracts. This brings Evans into the same area as other Frasers Group stores of Sports Direct and Flannels.
An employee at Evans told The Guardian that the working conditions in 2020 were awful, saying they were “very difficult working conditions.
“This last year has been awful since [Frasers] started changing things. It’s been one indignity after another.”
Bike sales soared during 2020 as people looked for ways to get daily exercise during the Coronavirus lockdowns, as well as using bikes instead of public transport, but this doesn’t seem to have factored in the decision of making cuts.
Shop workers’ union Usdaw called on the government to ban zero-hours contracts: “It is not acceptable for workers to be put on contracts that don’t guarantee them any hours at all. There is a real danger that, as the impact of coronavirus begins to show on the economy, more workers will feel forced to take zero-hours contracts as they have no other options.”