Usdaw disappointed with the Government’s response to a House of Commons debate on Shop Direct

Yesterday saw the House of Commons debating the future of Shop Direct Staff in Greater Manchester following the Company’s decision to close three centres and relocate operations to the East Midlands which will lead to the loss of nearly 2,000 jobs across three Greater Manchester sites.

The MP secured the debate and was supported by Barbara Keeley MP (Worsley and Eccles South), Jim McMahon MP (Oldham West and Royton) and Liz McInnes MP (Heywood and Middleton). Responding for the Government was Sam Gyimah MP, BEIS Minister.

Debbie Abrahams highlighted the devastating impact the company’s announcement had on staff, which is no reflection on their hard work, dedication and loyalty to Shop Direct, a thriving company. As she went through the details of the situation at the three sites in Greater Manchester the MPs called on the Government to intervene in the situation.

Mike Aylward – Usdaw Divisional Officer says: “Our members at Shop Direct are grateful to Debbie Abrahams and her Labour colleagues for raising their concerns. Shop Direct staff are at the forefront of the effects of the introduction of new technology, as they face seeing their Greater Manchester workplace, employing nearly 2,000 workers, move to the East Midlands, employing only 500. So it is right that these issues are debated in Parliament and the Government is required to provide a response.

“Our members will have been deeply disappointed to hear the Minister offer little more than warm words. It was clear that he has already thrown in the towel as he focussed on retraining and redundancy support, rather than saving jobs. We believe there is a role for the Government to intervene and support the staff facing redundancy. There are questions to be answered about what the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ actually means to working people in the North West.

“Today we had our first formal consultation meeting with Shop Direct, which was constructive. We have requested more detail about the employer’s business case. We are also seeking further information from Oldham Council about the offer they would like the company to consider. Today was only the start of a statutory period of meaningful consultation with the company and we anticipate many more meetings as we go through the process examining all options to avoid redundancies.


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