Warehouse to move operations out of county by this autumn

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Another 440 jobs are at risk in the county after retail chain Argos announced plans to pull out of its distribution site in the town.

The retail chain announced yesterday that it plans to leave the site in Bangrave Road by the autumn and relocate the roles to Magna Park in Leicestershire.

It is the third major blow for the town in the past two weeks, following the announcement that 110 jobs are to be cut at Tata Steel and 150 more are under threat after Eddie Stobart’s decision to close its depot in Eismann Way.

The Argos site is managed by logistics firm Wincanton, and its employees have been told they are eligible to transfer to Magna Park.

Staff were told in a letter that Argos had chosen Corby as a clause in its contract with Wincanton allowed it to leave the site with no financial penalty.

A woman who works for Argos, but who asked not to be named, said: “There were rumours flying around yesterday morning that a big announcement was to be made.

“People on the shift were called together at 2pm and we were told it is closing in the autumn. People were shocked and completely stunned. Some were in tears.”

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.

“All affected Corby employees are eligible to transfer to the Argos site at Magna Park. Subject to the proposals, individuals may be able to explore the possibility of transfer to other Wincanton sites and contracts if they are unable to transfer to Magna Park.”

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.”

Adrian Jones, regional officer for union Unite, said: “We are massively disappointed because we are talking about hundreds of jobs moving out of Corby. It is a massive blow.”

Corby Council leader Tom Beattie said: “It is devastating news, coming on top of the job losses at Stobart and Tata.

“Corby seems to be taking a hit but it is happening elsewhere in the country. I think it is a sign the economy is slipping back into recession.”

Corby MP Louise Mensch said: “It was as much of a shock to the council as it was to me. The company didn’t flag it up with any local politicians which is a great shame, as we would have liked to have seen if there was anything we could have done to intervene and help save these jobs.”