Tesco is revamping its logistics in the UK with plans to close two distribution centres, leading to job losses.
The supermarket is proposing to reduce the number of Tesco distribution centres from 25 to 23 and plans to close the Welham Green distribution centre and move its grocery operations to the Reading distribution centre.
It is not yet known how many people will be affected but some reports claim there could be up to 1,000 job losses.
Tesco also wants to bring the majority of general merchandising into one distribution centre at Middlesbrough which means the closure of the Chesterfield distribution centre.
The retail giant claims the proposed changes to its distribution network are necessary to “run its business more simply and in a way that best serves its customers” with the changes forming part of a wider programme of transformation, which has been on-going over the last two years, to make sure Tesco is “set up for the future in a rapidly changing retail sector.”
Joanne McGuinness, national officer for Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) says this is bitter blow for Tesco staff.
“This is devastating news for the staff at Welham Green and Chesterfield distribution centres. Usdaw officials and senior reps were on-site yesterday (January 9) to support and advise members at this difficult time,” she says in a statement.
“We will now enter into consultation talks with the company where we will look closely at the business case for these proposed closures. Our priority is to save jobs and keep as many staff employed in the business as possible.”
“The proposed management restructure in all Tesco distribution centres will result in jobs being put at risk; again Usdaw will be consulted on the business case for the company’s proposal and we will be seeking to get the best deal for any of our members who will be affected.”
Other proposed changes include withdrawing from Daventry hanging garments shared distribution centre which is currently operated by third party DHL. Its clothing operations will move to nearby Tesco Daventry distribution centre. Bringing all warehouse operations that are currently carried out by DHL and Wincanton in house and simplifying the management structure across all distribution centres.
Tesco claims that while the changes will lead to some redundancies, new roles will also be created within sites across its distribution network, including new jobs at Reading and Middlesbrough centres as well as other support roles.
“As the needs of our customers change, it’s vital we transform our business for the future,” says Matt Davies, Tesco UK&ROI CEO.
“As part of this we are proposing to close two of our distribution centres in the UK. These changes will help to simplify our distribution operations so we can continue to serve our customers better.
“Our priority throughout this process has been our colleagues and we will continue to do all we can to support them at this time.”