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LWC flips reinstated staff to furlough saving part of 220 job cull

Published:  03 April, 2020

Independent drinks wholesaler LWC Drinks has flipped reinstated staff to furlough saving part of the 220 people the business made redundant prior to the government’s business rescue scheme being announced. 

MD Ebrahim Mukadam told Harpers the company had made the “extremely tough decision” to make 220 people in the business redundant on 19 March. 

“With trade at an almost complete stand still, at that point in time, this was the only viable course of action that could be taken in order to protect a further 1,000 plus jobs within the business.

“On Friday 20 March the Chancellor announced the government’s wage rescue scheme. In light of this new development, that weekend the management board at LWC Drinks immediately began work on its repeal process, and came together to reinstate as many roles as possible," he said. 

As of the week commencing the 30 March, over 100 roles have been reinstated, although strictly under furloughed circumstances, and additional roles have been offered back with decisions pending, he said.

LWC Drinks was continuing to review all viable avenues for reinstatement and was working closely with all employees, whether redundant, in repeal or furloughed, to “help them through these extremely difficult times”, he added. 

“LWC Drinks is a business that relies predominantly upon the hospitality trade to operate. With the government’s advice to avoid socialising, and then the closure of all on-trade premises on the 20 March, LWC Drinks felt an immediate and significant impact, and had to take drastic action in order to protect as many employees as possible.

“It is deeply saddening to see the impact Covid-19 is having on families, communities and – of course – the hospitality sector, and my deepest sympathies are with everyone who is currently feeling the effects of the outbreak, including our own customers and our employees.”

The redundancies were made the same day that the hospitality trade-focused business announced it would  temporarily be switching to a Business to Consumer (B2C) model to “maintain business continuity during the coronavirus outbreak”.  

This measure would be in place “while trade business is quiet”, said LWC, which has 14 depots across the country, delivering over 12,000 products to 13,500 on-trade customers.