Staff told jobs safe until after Christmas

The Argos base in Bangrave Road South, Corby
The Argos base in Bangrave Road South, Corby

Hundreds of workers who have faced months of uncertainty when they were told their jobs are at risk have been told their jobs are safe until at least the end of the year.

In February workers at the Argos site in Bancroft Road, Corby, were told their jobs were at risk because the retailer was moving its distribution operations to Magna Park in Lutterworth.

Since then workers’ shifts have been re-arranged but they have not been given a firm date for when the move will take place, despite being told initially that it would be this month.

A worker at the site, who did not want to be named, said: “We’ve been given two closure dates, I don’t think they know themselves.

“There are rumours it won’t be until March now, and they are taking on agency staff.”

The Argos site is managed by logistics firm Wincanton and its employees have been told they can transfer to Magna Park, 30 miles away.

Staff first heard about the closure in February when they got a letter which said Argos had chosen to close its depot in Corby because a clause in its contract with Wincanton allowed it to leave the site with no financial penalty.

When the announcement was made workers were left in shock and one said: “People were completely stunned. Some were in tears.”

Earlier this year an Argos spokesman said: “We propose to reconfigure our Argos distribution centre in Magna Park and exit the Wincanton managed operation in Corby, to reduce network costs and create a better balance between the flow of goods to and from the Midlands. Subject to colleague consultation, it is proposed that this work will commence in the summer and be complete by the autumn.”

A Wincanton spokesman said: “Inevitably some of our employees will be disappointed and concerned about the proposal and both Wincanton and Argos wish to make it clear that this does not reflect upon their professionalism, commitment and contribution to the Corby operation.”

When the closure was announced unions said up to 1,000 jobs could be affected.

However, staff at the site have been given a brief respite with news the move has been delayed, although a spokesman for Wincanton refused to be drawn on speculation the site could remain open until March.

Wincanton spokesman Louie Hadley said: “We can confirm that operations at the Argos site in Corby will continue until after Christmas.”