Back office roles at company’s Dartford headquarters under threat

Laing O’Rourke has said it is looking to cut up to 150 roles at its UK business because of the covid-19 pandemic.

The figure represents just under 2% of its 8,000 staff with the firm saying most of the losses will be coming from back office roles at its main UK office in Dartford.


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It said: “The roles identified as being potentially affected will be focused within the company’s support services and main offices, and a collective consultation with a number of staff based at the Dartford head office will take place. There may also be some jobs impacted elsewhere across the business where a reduction in work in specific roles or sectors is anticipated.”

The firm furloughed 1,000 employees at the start of the crisis in April and has since brought all but 23 back as well as returning staff to full pay at the beginning of this month.

But O’Rourke’s group director for Human Capital, Josh Murray, said it was now having to follow its peers and pare back staff overheads.

He added: “Our priority was to return projects to full productivity and reinstate everyone’s full pay and benefits as quickly as possible.

“That’s been achieved, and we are making good progress on site, but unfortunately, we will still have to make changes that impact around 150 roles, to help us manage costs in the current market while still investing in our strategic plans.

“In the current difficult market conditions, with a range of new requirements on the business as a result of the crisis, and with the possibility of further shocks, we simply cannot afford to do everything the same way we had planned.

“We have done everything we can to limit the impact on our people, which is why we first brought all staff back from furlough and restored everyone’s pay and entitlements to pre-covid levels. Today we’ve taken the necessary step to inform staff that we are developing proposals that may require 150 current roles to go between now and October.”

In April, the firm asked monthly salaried staff to take a sliding scale of pay cuts of between 20% and 30% with company chief executive Ray O’Rourke likening the firm’s response to the crisis to “a war effort”.