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Argos to close Somerset depot, 230 jobs at risk

Unite is now seeking ‘urgent’ meetings with the company at a senior level, as it looks to explore all avenues to preserve jobs

Around 230 jobs are reportedly at risk following the planned closure of an Argos distribution site in Bridgewater, Somerset. 

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told Retail Sector: “Last year we shared plans to accelerate the integration of the Sainsbury’s and Argos logistics networks and confirmed a number of our existing depots would close.

“Our Bridgwater depot is one of the sites affected and we are supporting the teams in any way we can. This includes exploring redeployment opportunities for our colleagues within Sainsbury’s.”

Following the news, Unite, a leading UK union, said it would “fight to save as many jobs as possible”, adding that the closure was earmarked for 2022.

The union is now seeking “urgent” meetings with the company at a senior level, and said it will explore all avenues to preserve jobs. 

In addition, it will “demand to see the business case behind the closure decision, while also exploring if the number of job losses can be reduced or whether affected workers can be redeployed”.

As Argos owns the site, Unite will also explore if it can be redesignated for an alternative use in a bid to preserve jobs.

Unite regional officer Tim Morris said: “Our members at the Argos Bridgwater distribution centre have continued to work throughout the pandemic and their reward for this dedication is to face losing their jobs.

“Unite will be holding an urgent meeting with the company to better understand why this announcement has been made.The union will fully engage in the consultation process and will explore all options to preserve as many jobs as possible in Bridgwater or at alternative locations.”

Unite national officer Matt Draper said: “This time last year key workers, like our members at Argos, were being lauded for helping keep the country running. A year later they are being thrown on the scrapheap.

“Due to our members continuing to work, which risked their health and that of their families, Sainsbury’s has benefitted hugely financially. To now announce that the very same workers face losing their jobs is a slap in the face to a long-serving workforce. This announcement appears to be about boosting Sainsbury’s profits rather than treating its workers fairly and decently.”

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