Wates to cut staff by 300 as coronavirus impact bites

Wates Group has become the first major contractor to unveil large-scale redundancies in direct response to the coronavirus crisis.

The privately-owned construction, property services and development group has announced a programme of redundancies that will reduce staff numbers by approximately 300, 8% of its workforce.

Around a quarter of its workforce had been on furlough since early April, when the group also announced a series of temporary pay cuts affecting staff at nearly all levels within the company.

David Allen, chief executive, 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.”

Mr Allen added: “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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