Wates to axe 300 staff in covid-19 downsize

Private builder Wates has become the first national contractor to unveil large-scale redundancy plans in response to the coronavirus epidemic.

The firm, which had previously furloughed a third of staff, said it had to act to protect the business in the face of falling revenue.

Its planned downsize will cut the workforce by around 8%. The cuts will be across the board hitting surveyors, planners and bid teams.

In recent weeks around 200 agency workers have also been released.

Chief Executive David Allen said: “The Coronavirus has changed our lives in ways that were unimaginable at the beginning of the year.

“While other sectors closed as a result of the lockdown, ours was asked by government to continue working and to adopt new operating procedures.

“I would like to pay tribute to all of my colleagues who have continued to perform a range of essential public services and who have kept our projects progressing safely. They have been extraordinary.

“By furloughing a third of our staff and implementing pay reductions nearly seven weeks ago, we acted quickly to protect our people’s jobs. However, we cannot escape the economic consequences of the pandemic.

“So, this week, we have begun a process through which we will reduce the number of staff we employ by approximately 300.

“In taking this difficult step, we will match the size of our business to our forecasted levels of activity, ensuring we continue to offer services of the highest quality and best value to our customers, and remain one of the most financially resilient and sustainable businesses in our sector.”

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