26/10/2016

Around 300 Jobs At Risk Following WiggleCRC Merger

Around 300 jobs are at risk in Northern Ireland after Wiggle took over Chain Reaction Cycles earlier this year.

The firm said it intends to carry out the majority of its operations from its warehouse in Wolverhampton.

The company employs 152 staff and a further 161 agency staff at its warehouses in Doagh, Carrickfergus and Ballyclare.

In a statement WiggleCRC said: "For WiggleCRC to retain its position and remain competitive in the UK as well as increasingly global markets, we have concluded that this can be best achieved by concentrating the majority of our distribution through our warehouse facility in Wolverhampton.

"This necessary step, will require the relocation of significant warehouse activities currently in Doagh, Carrickfergus and Ballyclare.

"WiggleCRC will retain a significant staff and management presence in Northern Ireland, with at least 275 unaffected employees forming a vital part of our ambitious growth plans."

Ulster Unionist MLA Steve Aiken said: "It is massively disappointing that WiggleCRC have announced their intention to concentrate most of their distribution through their Wolverhampton warehouse facility, to the detriment of Doagh, Ballyclare and Carrickfergus.
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"I am shocked at the numbers of workers who will be affected, not least because the story of Chain Reaction Cycles has, up to now, been one of continual expansion and success. From its early days starting in Ballynure, its online cycle business has developed into a global success, and it has become one of Northern Ireland's most iconic businesses. This will also significantly affect the Royal Mail as Chain Reaction have been one of their biggest customers.

"While the newly merged company has opened up formal consultations with their employees, we must hope that as many jobs are retained in South Antrim as possible. Even at this late stage I would hope that the company would reconsider and realise that Northern Ireland is and can be a better hub than Wolverhampton. I have called on Invest NI and the Economy Minister to engage proactively with the company to overcome this short sighted decision."

Regional Officer from Unite the union Davy Thompson, said the loss of employment is yet another blow to Northern Ireland's economy.

He said: "These losses affect our retail sector which in the past weeks have suffered the collapse of Exhibit as well as British Home Stores.

"Only last Monday a Unite delegation met with the Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton, to press him for real action to grow Northern Ireland's economy in the face of recent redundancy and closure notices and the impact of Brexit.

"Today demonstrates that such support needs to be complemented by legislation in the Assembly to provide necessary protections for Northern Ireland workers. It is simply far too easy for corporations to buy up successful local companies, take their order books and offshore jobs making local workers redundant.

"Corporate actions like this would incur huge costs in most European countries, where employers have to contribute to the social costs of the dislocation caused by disinvestment and redundancies; such protections are no barrier to the success of those economies – there is no excuse for inaction."

(CD)

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