Plans to shut Co-op depot

CO-OP workers in Alfreton face an uncertain future after plans to close a depot which employs 485 people were revealed.

The depot on Venture Crescent, on Nix Hill industrial estate in Somercotes, is one of five depots set for closure to make way for a new distribution centre in the East Midlands, which would create 900 new jobs.

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) said the opening of the larger distribution centres around the country would see an overall increase of around 350 jobs.

No decision has yet been made on a location for the new facility, but the Co-op says it is likely to be close to the M1 in either Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire, and is expected to become operational during 2012.

A Co-op spokesman said: “Staff have been informed of The Co-operative Group’s plans, and will be kept fully updated on developments, including the location of the new depot once it is confirmed.”

Somercotes councillor John McCabe said: “I hope that Amber Valley as a council can source some land close to the town to keep them in the area. We should help local people keep local jobs and Amber Valley should find them land to keep the Co-op close.”

Sharon Ainsworth, national officer for USDAW, warned some existing depots would close over the next 18 months.

She said: “Members affected have been aware that their depot was likely to close for some time now, but it will no doubt have come as a shock and been distressing news to hear final confirmation this week.

“USDAW has been fully consulted throughout the review and we will continue to do everything possible to mitigate the number of job losses at the depots facing closure and to secure the best possible deal for any member faced with losing their job.”

Ian Smith, the Co-op’s regional head of logistics, said: “We realise this is an unsettling time for staff at our existing depots, but our new distribution centre is likely to be nearby and we hope as many of our existing staff as possible will transfer to the new site.”

The Co-op has recently opened three new regional distribution centres.