Mike Ashley’s Evans Cycles to axe 300 jobs

Evans Cycles Mike Ashley Frasers Group Sports Direct
Frasers Group bought the bicycle retailer out of administration in 2018 when it had 62 outlets
// Over 300 jobs to go at Evans Cycles as Frasers Group seeks to cut costs
// Hundreds of remaining store staff will switch to zero-hours contracts
// Management will have to work more hours – moving from 40-hour contracts to 45 hours

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group is reportedly cutting over 300 jobs at Evans Cycles and moving the hundreds of remaining store staff to zero-hours contracts in an effort to slash costs.

Evans Cycles has informed staff that the group intends to cut up to half of the workforce in many stores despite the demand for bicycles amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, management will also have to work more hours, moving from 40-hour contracts to 45 hours.

READ MORE: Business rates relief extension “near worthless”, Frasers Group says

All other store staff will be switched from fixed-hours contracts, which usually guarantee at least eight hours a week, to what it calls “casual worker agreements” – Frasers’ term for zero-hours contracts.

Frasers Group bought the bicycle retailer out of administration in 2018 when it had 62 outlets.

It said the group would employ about 475 staff in stores, down from 813, The Guardian reported.

The group wrote to Evans staff that it “cannot rely on old ways of running business and must adapt”.

The switch to zero-hours contracts brings Evans into line with other Frasers outlets including Sports Direct shops and Flannels, where staff are not guaranteed regular work.

In 2016, Frasers Group – then known as Sports Direct – committed to scrapping zero-hours contracts after heavy criticism from unions and MPs.

Ashley apologised to staff and promised to turn the business into “one of the best employers in Britain”.

However in 2017, the then chairman Keith Hellawell said the group would continue using the contracts claiming “a huge proportion of workers are happy to retain the flexibility”.

Shopworkers’ union Usdaw has called on the government to ban zero-hours contracts saying it is unacceptable for workers to be put on contracts that don’t guarantee them any hours.

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