Hundreds of jobs at risk, with Tesco's Weybridge depot to close

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

More than 600 people are set to lose their jobs after supermarket giant Tesco announced plans to shut its distribution centre in Weybridge.

The company, which employs 650 people at its Brooklands industrial park site, will also cut 800 jobs at its Harlow site, 400 at Chesterfield and 150 at Magor, south Wales.

The Weybridge, Harlow and Chesterfield sites will close completely, and the south Wales site will remain open with 650 of its current team of 800 staff.

Councillor Brian Fairclough, representing St George’s Hill ward, said: “This is a bad day for the residents of Weybridge as Tesco closes its centre in Brooklands with a loss of up to 650 jobs.

“However, it will enable the site to be freed up for another tenant and the attractions of Brooklands as a distribution hub, ideally situated close to the M25, M3 and M40 will help find a new business to replace Tesco.

“This is part of a UK-wide review by Tesco and should not be seen as a slight on Weybridge. I hope that workers will be offered new jobs at the proposed super-centre at Reading and that a new tenant is found quickly to offer replacement jobs at Brooklands.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We have been reviewing our distribution network and have confirmed plans to close some of our current distribution centres and open new ones that will give our customers a better service and improve working conditions for our colleagues.

“Colleagues who are affected will be offered jobs at other Tesco sites, including at the two new distribution sites we have confirmed we will be opening, in Reading and Dagenham. Two thousand jobs will be created at those sites.”

A spokeswoman for Usdaw, the union of shop, distributive and allied workers, said: “This is absolutely devastating news for our members and their families.

“Usdaw will be entering into a 90-day consultation with Tesco to explore all possible options to reduce any job losses.”

Tesco currently has 32 distribution centres but wants to reduce its operations by shifting work to the two new sites in Reading and Dagenham, to reduce costs and its carbon footprint.

Staff were told about the job losses on Monday afternoon, but the supermarket said they would be offered new employment within Tesco.

The announcement starts a 90-day consultation, with the sites due to close by September.

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