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WaverleyTBS reveals extent of job cuts

Published:  13 May, 2009

Leading wholesaler WaverleyTBS has been forced to lose 10% of its workfoce in order to safeguard jobs and the future health of the company, it revealed at today's Harpers Wine & Spirit debate at the London International Wine Fair.

Wine category director Neil Bruce said 10% of the 1,500 people employed by the company in 2008 had gone, and like many other drinks businesses it had imposed a pay freeze.

"These are people we are talking about, with responsibilities," he said. "But that is what we have had to do in order to safeguard the remaining 1,400 people and to make sure we are in the healthiest state possible for them."

At the debate, which looked at how to make profit in a recession, Bruce as well as Simon Baile, of Oddbins, and Matthew Dickinson, of Thierry's, talked of the importance of well-motivated and hard-working staff for their company's commercial well-being.

Baile said the company was looking at "smaller and more frequent" ways of rewarding staff, rather than bigger one-off bonuses that were harder to
achieve in a recession.

"In a recession life is even tighter but there are things you can do to show staff they are appreciated," he said. "It's all about focusing people's minds on a slightly shorter term. When you have got people working on a fairly low wage you have to respect they have bills to pay. But you can give them a bonus that's enough for a few extra pints at the end of the week, or take them out for a meal, and they really appreciate that."