Johnson, workwear and textile giant, cuts 1,500 jobs

Runcorn-based workwear and textile firm Johnson Service Group (JSG) said on Tuesday it expects to cut more than 1,500 roles as the coronavirus pandemic hammers demand in its key hotels and catering markets.

Johnson said it expects the workforce in its division serving the hotel, restaurant and catering (HORECA) division to be cut by around 1,350 to 2,450 by the start of 2021, while around 200 roles will go at its workwear arm.

In a trading statement, Johnson said: “The past three months’ performance has been a mixed picture across the group reflecting current market conditions, with the workwear business currently seeing volumes having returned to pre-Covid levels, whilst the focus within the hotel, restaurant and catering (HORECA) business has been to manage the cost base and ensure we are ready once volumes in the UK’s hotel, restaurant and catering markets resume in the coming months …

“Since the interim results announcement on 2 September 2020, the group has continued to see disruption, particularly within its HORECA business, with increasing uncertainty in recent weeks on the back of the various lockdowns and associated reduced activity within the hospitality sector …”

On its HORECA business jobs, Johnson said: “Throughout the year we have utilised the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended to March 2021, and will continue to do so as and where appropriate.  

“At the end of 2019, the division comprised 3,800 employees.  

“In line with the reduction in volumes this number has reduced significantly, through both redundancies and natural churn, such that we anticipate ending the year with some 2,450 employees.  

“Some 1,600 of our employees are currently on furlough with the majority of the remaining workforce being flexi-furloughed and working reduced hours in line with the current reduced volumes.”

On its workwear business, Johnson said: “At the end of December 2019, the division had 2,300 employees.  

“… we anticipate starting 2021 with 2,100 employees operating from 16 processing sites across the UK.”