A consultation process is set to commence over the future of more than 300 jobs at WiggleCRC.
WiggleCRC was formed following a merger of online cycling retailers Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles.
A statement from WiggleCRC following a post-merger operational review said: “Following a thorough operational review post the merger of Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles (CRC), we have decided to keep both brands, websites and maintain our presence in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“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 etailers. For WiggleCRC 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. 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.”
The statement continued: “WiggleCRC will retain a significant staff and management presence in Northern Ireland, with at least 275 unaffected employees forming a vital part of our ambitious growth plans.
“Should the proposal go ahead, we would expect the relocation of stock and activities to commence in late summer 2017. We hope this extended period of time will help to smooth the transition for those affected. We recognise that these are uncertain times for affected employees and can confirm they will be treated fairly and in line with our values. We are fully committed to minimising the impact of these proposals and providing all the necessary support to affected employees in any way we can during and after this process. That includes working with the Department of the Economy’s Careers Service to help provide affected employees with advice and guidance on new employment and training opportunities.
“WiggleCRC remains committed to Northern Ireland and realising the full global growth opportunity for both the Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles brands.”