MORE than 1,300 workers are expected to lose their jobs when Shop Direct finally closes in 2020.
Permanent and agency staff are still coming to terms with the employment bombshell which was delivered on Wednesday, April 18.
A meeting between representatives of the Liverpool-based online retailer and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), of which Oldham is a member, has taken place.
The Council requested Shop Direct, which owns Littlewoods and Very, re-thinks its decision and considers an alternative site at Broadway Green, Chadderton.
“It was disappointing there was no willingness to engage on these proposals,” said a GMCA statement.
Shop Direct confirmed there are 705 permanent staff and 636 agency staff at the distribution centre in Shaw.
There are 413 staff and 136 agency staff at Raven Mill in Chadderton and 59 staff and 43 agency staff at Little Hulton.
Workers have been reluctant to discuss the impending redundancies when approached by the Correspondent.
One woman, however, predicted the closure would lead to Shaw becoming a “ghost town”.
Traders have reacted with mixed views to the news.
Stephen Taylor, who has run a long standing cobblers business in Shaw, said: “We have had it before with Osram and to a lesser extent with Warburtons.
“I can’t see anyone else moving in; not someone who is going to provide 1,000 jobs.
“You can see how Shaw is deteriorating and it does concern me. But if I was 25 with children I’d certainly be worried what the town is going to be like.”
Another trader added: “It is sad for the people who are going to lose their jobs but for me half of them are not from round here.
“Are they going to move?” he said of Shop Direct’s decision. “I have heard a rumour they are after planning permission to build something bigger.”
Posting on the Correspondent Facebook page Gaz Leach said: “It is a massive blow employment wise for many and that’s me included as well as local businesses.
“But at least the residents of Shaw (including me as a Gawbie) will no longer have to put up with the never-ending convoy of HGVs rumbling through the town of which Shop Direct is the major contributor.
“Don`t get me wrong as I am one of those HGV drivers driving the HGVs through the town as it’s my job and pays my bills.
“But I cannot help feeling for all the residents as I trundle past in the early hours traversing the pothole riddled roads.”
John Norman contributed: “I feel for all those employees that are having their lives turned upside down.
“Some may be in a position to relocate but for most it would not be an option.
“Let’s hope there is a generous redundancy package, and as for the agency workers that will be ‘off you go’.
“It’s wrong. They are after all human beings, with families and bill to pay. Sorry for you all.”
Oldham West and Royton MP, Jim McMahon, has requested an urgent debate in parliament over the news.
“It has been met with shock and anger by local people,” he said.
“The impact of this cannot be underestimated and the response in support of the people affected must reflect this.
“The closure of Shop Direct has brought into sharp focus the need for Oldham to secure jobs and ones which are accessible to local people.
“We need improved transport across Greater Manchester, so that more employment opportunities are made available.
“Oldham is working hard to attract investment but without meaningful resources from government it’s often an uphill battle.
“I have returned to Parliament this week and requested that this issues be discussed at the highest possible level.”