East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has been shocked by what he considers to be a truly devastating blow to the work force at Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles so soon after their merger in July of this year.
Mr Dickson said: “At that time, the new company, rebranded as ‘WiggleCRC’, said it would create an even more compelling customer proposition, while seeking to extend its product range over a stronger, well invested platform and infrastructure. Together the combined business, which had revenues in excess of £300m, would be better placed to compete in the growing global online market for cycling, running, swimming and tri-sports products.
“I express my deep concern at what turned so quickly from hope to despair for those of my constituents who will be faced with job losses at WiggleCRC. Earlier today employees were informed of the company’s intention to keep both brands and websites and its commitment to maintain a significant staff and management presence in Northern Ireland and Portsmouth. Unfortunately, that planned growth will be at the expense of the work force in Carrickfergus as WiggleCRC plans to concentrate the majority of its distribution through its warehouse facility in Wolverhampton.
“If this proposal goes ahead, it will affect 152 employees, mainly in Carrickfergus and Doagh. It will also impact 161 agency workers currently supporting warehouse operations in Northern Ireland.
“Notwithstanding the explanations being offered of commitment to the remaining 275 employees here, I will be seeking a meeting with WiggleCRC management to determine and discuss the grade, skills and location of these remaining positions, particularly as we face uncertain times for affected employees that will undoubtedly be compounded by Brexit.”