Journeycall to Shed 20 Jobs as Covid-19 Hits

One of the largest employers in Angus said a significant decline in revenues had led to 20 staff being made redundant.

Contact centre Journeycall, based in Arbroath, had a workforce of almost 400 staff before a consultation process was started.

The process concluded with 20 of the 23 people whose jobs were under threat, losing their employment.Journeycall provides customer service support and smartcards for the UK transport industry and counts Transport for London and West Midlands Railways among its customers as well as several local authorities.

The decline in people using public transport as a result of Covid-19 has been as high as 85% which has had a direct impact on revenues.

“We are a public transport sector operator and there’s been an unavoidable in decline in volume,” said Theresa Slevin, chief executive of Journeycall’s owner ESP Group.

“We have spent the last three to four months exploring all options available but we find ourselves in the position where there are redundancies.

“Journeycall has a strong business model and that hasn’t changed. There are future opportunities but in order to continue to deliver a sustainable business we have had to make these decisions.

“We have spent a long time giving people employment and careers. This is absolutely contrary to how we operate.”

Journeycall produces and fulfils more than two million smartcards a year and makes up the bulk of revenues for the ESP Group, which recorded sales of £104.7 million last year.

In Arbroath Journeycall had 384 staff before Covid-19 hit.

Identified as a key business by the Mayor of London’s office, at the end of March it moved hundreds of staff to remote working. It also put more than 100 employees on furlough.

Ms Slevin said she hoped the number of people using public transport would improve to a level quickly that would mean there were no further job cuts.

“We are monitoring passenger volumes hourly,” she said.

“Our hope is that they increase to a level where the redundancy impact will be minimal.

“We’ve been hit with a double whammy. Not only has there been Covid-19 but businesses have restructured to deliver homeworking.

“While that has been fantastic for keeping people safe and well, and that has to be the priority, it is going to have a longer-term impact on our business.

“People have changed the way they’re working. Will there still be a high volume commute in the future? I think it’s going to take its time to re-establish.”

Last year the ESP Group, which also includes Hull-based Systex, added major contracts with Transport for Greater Manchester, C2C and Transport for Wales Rail.

The company also hoped to extend its services into new sectors such as sporting events which are taking on smartcard technology.


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