500 jobs at risk as Carphone announces Wednesbury site closure

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Communications Workers Union condemns “devastating” decision to close site

Dixons Carphone is to close its distribution and logistics centre in Wednesbury with 500 positions under threat.

All work currently undertaken at the base, a legacy Carphone Warehouse site, will be moved to its Newark site and staff will be offered the chance to relocate to this centre.

Dixons Carphone says it will offer “considerable assistance” to those considering relocation or a “significantly enhanced” redundancy package.

However, the Communications Workers Union has condemned the proposals and said it is unrealistic to expect staff to relocate to a site 90 miles away.

The decision to close the site is part of the £3.7 billion merger between Carphone Warehouse and Dixons last year. As part of the merger the company is targeting efficiency savings of “at least £80 million” by 2017/18.

While this involves a reduction in duplicate roles the company has always maintained that it would involve an overall increase in headcount, which was a combined 43,000 at the time of the merger.

A Dixons Carphone spokesperson said: “As part of the on-going integration process, we have been reviewing our two Services divisions to find the best way to bring them together and create a single operating model that is efficient, sustainable and delivers for our customers.

“Following much consideration, our distribution and repair centre in Newark has been identified as the most appropriate location for our growing business and so we will now consult with colleagues about relocating our Wednesbury operations to this site.

“Should our proposals go ahead, every single person will be offered a role in the new operation and to help our colleagues, we are offering considerable assistance to relocate or commute.

“Where colleagues feel unable to move, we are proposing significantly enhanced redundancy packages and redeployment support. We value the wealth of knowledge and experience in our colleagues and will be working very closely with everyone affected over the coming months to support them as we enter into consultations.”

CWU Birmingham, Black Country and Worcester branch secretary, Vicky Cornelius, cast doubt on how many people would be able, or willing, to relocate.

She said: “This is devastating news for everyone who works at the Wednesbury site and for the local community which is an area of high unemployment.

“It’s not a huge surprise to workers – as there have been previous problems with the lease – but to get this news is just awful.

“For the company to say that people can keep their jobs is laughable. It’s simply not realistic for people to uproot their families and lives to move 90 miles away for a job which hardly pays well – would you do that for £17,000 a year?”

 

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