Central Co-op plans to close three UK distribution centres, which could lead to nearly 400 jobs cuts.

In order to transfer distribution operations to the Co-operative Group, the convenience retailer has proposed closing three distribution centres in Leicester and a garage on the outskirts of the city in Whetstone.

Staff in Leicester and Whetstone were reportedly informed of the proposed redundancies this week, and approval has been obtained for it to join the LIDIA network in 2024.

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LIDIA is a national collective distribution and logistics operation owned and operated by the Co-op Group in the United Kingdom on behalf of its own stores and independent Co-operative stores.

Usdaw union national officer, John Gorle said: “This is devastating news for staff affected by the company’s proposal, our members are deeply concerned about their future employment prospects,”

“We will now enter into a period of meaningful consultation where Usdaw reps and officials will interrogate the company’s business case for the transfer of distribution operations.”

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The union says Central Co-op has made “an early commitment” to offer alternative roles inside of Central Co-op and the Co-operative Group to the affected employees.

Gorle added that Usdaw’s priorities include trying to “avoid redundancies and secure the best support package possible.”

“In the meantime, we are providing our members with the advice, support and representation they need during this period of uncertainty.”

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Central Co-op chief executive Debbie Robinson said: “The commitment and experience of our distribution teams are amongst the best in the logistics industry and they do an amazing job keeping our shops running.

“As we grow and invest in Society to support communities, we need to be ready for the future and we have now outgrown our current distribution facilities.

I know this is going to be a difficult time for some of our colleagues and our priority will be supporting them and we are able to offer them alternative roles, either within Central Co-op or the LIDIA network.”

Source: Retail Gazette

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