HUNDREDS of jobs in Shaw could be lost after online retailers Shop Direct announced plans to close its Linney Lane distribution factory by 2020.
Other sites in Chadderton and Little Hulton, Salford will also close as part of a relocation move to the East Midlands.
The proposed closures will put under threat 1,200 jobs at Shop Direct and a further 800 agency staff.
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, whose constituency covers Shop Direct’s Shaw facility, described the proposals as “devastating news for the Shop Direct staff and their families and the anticipated redundancies will have a dreadful effect on the local community.”
Mrs Abrahams added: “I’m bitterly disappointed that Shop Direct failed to engage with the council or myself before this morning about their plans to move to the East Midlands in the 18 months that this has been planned.
“I’ll be working closely with the council, unions and Mayor of Greater Manchester’s office to ensure that Shop Direct management are coordinating properly with trade union representatives and that they keep their commitment to support staff impacted by these anticipated redundancies with relevant financial support, training and advice.
“I’ll also be writing to the Prime Minister, and government ministers to demand they are fully engaged in the process of supporting my constituents through this difficult process.”
Jim McMahon, MP for Oldham West and Royton, said: “This is terrible news for people employed at the sites due for closure including, Shaw and Raven Mill in Oldham.
“Many of my constituents working here will be concerned about the future, and it is vital focused support is given to them.”
Mike Aylward, Usdaw Divisional Officer, said: “Our members are understandably shocked and devastated by today’s announcement of the proposed closure and relocation of the Shop Direct sites.
“The company has been providing employment for families in the North West for many decades and these sites have different generations of the same families working there.
“The impact of closures will be huge on hundreds of families, local businesses and the local communities.”
Shop Direct confirmed development of the site at East Midlands Gateway is due to start in May 2018, and the group plans to begin exiting its existing fulfilment sites in Greater Manchester from mid-2020.
They said as part of an 18-month project, Shop Direct reviewed its fulfilment sites at Shaw, Little Hulton and Raven, and concluded that limited accessibility, layout and loading restrictions, coupled with a lack of space, mean that these centres won’t meet the group’s future operational ambitions.
A statement from the company said: “For Shop Direct to continue to meet customer demand, the business now needs a new, purpose-built and automated facility in a central, well-connected location, that can accommodate all one-man fulfilment and returns operations on one site, and that provides room for continued expansion.
“Shop Direct has entered into consultation with Usdaw, the recognised trade union, and will also be consulting with colleague representatives. The group will be working closely with affected colleagues to support them.”
Commenting on today’s announcement, Derek Harding, interim group CEO of Shop Direct, said: “This is a tough day for the business and we know how difficult this news will be to hear for our teams in Shaw, Little Hulton and Raven.
“However, these proposals are necessary for our future and to enable us to continue to grow and meet rising customer expectations.
“We take very seriously our responsibilities to our colleagues, many of whom have been with us for along time and who work tirelessly to deliver for our customers.
“We are working alongside Usdaw, ourrecognised trade union, and will listen carefully to what they have to say.
“We’ll also work closely withlocal authorities and community leaders to make sure this process is carried out as fairly and sensitivelyas possible for our colleagues.
“We’re announcing this now to give our colleagues the best possible opportunity to prepare for the change.
“Over the next two to three years, we’ll be partnering with local and national organisations to provide our colleagues with tailored advice and training, including career skills, access to financial planning and vocational courses to support re-training.
“It’s also our plan to offer apprenticeships in in-demand skills across our existing operational sites.
“Our priority is to provide a fair outcome for our team and we’ll do everything we can to support colleagues through this transition.”