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Three hundred face axe as Wiggle CRC plans to move warehouse to West Midlands

Published 26/10/2016

Jobs under threat at online bike retailer Wiggle CRC
Jobs under threat at online bike retailer Wiggle CRC

More than 300 jobs are at risk at online bike retailer Wiggle CRC.

The company plans to concentrate most of its warehouse facilities in Wolverhampton.

The proposals are due to be introduced late next summer, a company statement said.

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

"As part of this proposal, bikes and frames, including bike assembly handling activities and our wheel build operation would remain in Ballyclare.

"In light of this proposal, a consultation process will shortly commence with the 152 potentially affected employees and their representatives.

"Discussions will also start with agency management in respect of the 161 agency workers currently supporting warehouse operations in Northern Ireland."

It follows a review of operations.

The statement added: "As part of the review we are aware that delivery, including later order cut-offs and speed, is becoming increasingly important for customers and a highly competitive area for all retailers.

"For Wiggle CRC 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."

Wiggle CRC was formed when Wiggle took over Doagh-based Chain Reaction Cycles earlier this year.

Ulster Unionist Assembly member Steve Aiken said he was shocked.

"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."

Unite union regional officer Davy Thompson said the company's decision was indefensible.

"Earlier in the year, Unite reps raised concerns with political leaders that Wiggle's acquisition might be driven by a desire to buy a competitors' order-book with little long-term commitment to its workforce. We were given assurances that this was not the case.

"This loss of employment is yet another blow to Northern Ireland's economy. These losses affect our retail sector which in the past weeks have suffered the collapse of Exhibit as well as British Home Stores."

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