More than 800 jobs at risk

1 March 2011, 16:17 | Updated: 8 March 2011, 12:10

More than 800 jobs have been put at risk, after Tesco announced plans to close its National Distribution Centre at Fenny Lock in Milton Keynes.

The company's moving its operations to the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DRIFT) which it says is 60% bigger than Fenny Lock, and will let them transport more things by rail instead of road.

764 Tesco staff work at Fenny Lock, as well as around 100 people who are employed by Eddie Stobart and several more who work for other companies at the centre.

The Usdaw union has described the decision to move the site as "devastating news".

Joanne McGuiness, Usdaw National Officer said:

"This is absolutely devastating news for our members, their families and for the economy of Milton Keynes. There are entire families affected by this decision and with five people already chasing every vacancy in the town, it really couldn't have come at a worse time."

"Consultations with Tesco will start this week and we will be examining their business case in detail. Our number one priority will be to save jobs and we'll be trying to secure as many opportunities as possible at the new depot in Daventry and at other Tesco sites in the area."

"Tesco has a hardworking and loyal workforce at Fenny Lock and we will also expect them to do everything they can to help secure alternative employment for people. Usdaw will certainly be doing all we can to represent and support our members through this very difficult and worrying time."

Tesco say all of the people it employs will be offered the chance to work at the new site - which is 36 miles away. The supermarket giant says it will start talks tomorrow (Wednesday) with staff and Unions about what options are now available for staff.

Juliette Bishop, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager said:

“The site at Fenny Lock is now over 20 years old and can no longer provide the space needed to hold the range and volume of products needed to supply our stores for the future.”

“This new modern facility will allow us to greatly enhance the service to our stores and customers across the country.”

“This site also offers on-site rail freight facilities which can handle up to 12 trains everyday helping us to further reduce freight travelling by road.”

The new site is scheduled to open this summer. Usdaw says there will be a reduction of activity there from June, with the final closure by September.