'˜Temporary staff and robots' will fulfil new roles at Corby Avon, say workers

Avon workers say they are 'disgusted' at the way they say they have been cast aside by a company they have worked for for decades.

Friday, 28th September 2018, 2:27 pm
Updated Friday, 28th September 2018, 2:34 pm
Avon factory in Earlstrees Industrial Estate, Corby ENGNNL00120111230131049

Some of the 104 workers made redundant at Avon in Corby say that the company will regret making so many experienced staff redundant.

They say the firm has recently been advertising, through its recruitment agency Echo Personnel, for workers on low-hours contracts for new temporary jobs at the site while permanent employees have been given redundancy packages.

One worker who did not wish to be named said: “There are people who’ve been here for thirty or forty years.

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“We’re like a family. We’ve grown up together.

“There’s a new building here that was due to open this week that they say will do double the work with half the staff.

“First of all they said they were taking away our shift allowance and then that we’d have to work on 17 Saturdays a year.

“Then eight weeks ago they took us into the canteen and we were told about the redundancies.

“They’ve also decided to change everyone’s job title to Avon Associate.

“They’ve kept on all the part-time staff and agency workers and made full-time staff redundant. We’re too expensive to keep.
“I’m disgusted with how we’ve been treated.”

The worker said that he and others had warned Avon bosses about the move to online shopping but that their warnings had not been heeded.

“They’ve only just started to go online,” he said.

“It’s too little, too late.

“They’re keeping two shifts on until Christmas but that will change in January and we have been told there will be more redundancies next year.

“There’ll be 30 packers in the new building but there will also be robots running up and down the aisles moving the totes around.

“You can’t replace experience with robots.”

The employee said he had had a fantastic time at Avon over the years.

“They used to do Christmas parties and social events and all of that’s gone now.

“I’ve no regrets and I’m looking forward to the future. I’m glad to go now.”

An Avon statement said: ““Avon is modernising its business to improve the service it provides to its customers and representatives. This will result in a more efficient operation and involves 24 hour working and new technology investment in its distribution centre in Corby, with a new extension due to go live at the end of September.

“The proposed changes are unfortunately resulting in a total of 104 redundancies across Avon’s Corby branch between September this year and January next year.

“Both Avon and trade union USDAW (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) are working closely with those effected to ensure they are supported through and beyond these changes.”

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