Nottinghamshire Council vows continued support for ex-Wilko employees after retailer's collapse
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Conservative-led Nottinghamshire Council has unanimously vowed to offer help and guidance to Wilko employees affected by the company’s demise.
Fifteen Wilko stores across the city and county will have closed within the next fortnight while about 2,000 jobs have also been lost at the company’s Worksop headquarters.
The collapse has previously been described as ‘like a pit closure’ for the north Nottinghamshire district with office, distribution and retail jobs lost.
Now, the council has backed cross-party plans to offer further job support to all people in the county affected by the company’s closure.
The motion – lodged by Labour group leader Coun Kate Foale – asked the chamber to find support within the authority for some of the retailer’s former staff.
It was amended by the ruling Tories to outline support already offered to the affected employees before being given cross-party unanimous support.
The Independent Alliance then offered another amendment ensuring former Wilko employees are offered connections with employers who are ‘seeking candidates with similar skillsets’.
During the full council meeting, Coun Foale said: “It’s clear the closure of Wilko stores is a huge blow to our county.
“So many of our communities will be affected.
"For anyone who’s been into Wilko since the announcement, it’s been so, so sad.
“Some staff have worked there for years and working there for them felt like a family.
"They’ve lost their jobs at short notice and these are people who care about the communities they serve.
“We really need to dig deep into our resources and use our position as a major employer to create training opportunities.”
Coun Keith Girling (Con), who proposed the Conservatives’ amendment, added: “We are connected with Wilko staff personally and we are also available to take down people’s details if they have a specific role they are interested in.
“We’ve taken steps to engage with people on social media and that will continue.”
And Coun Helen-Ann Smith (Ash Ind), who seconded the Independent Alliance amendment, said: “The closure of Wilko has left a huge gap on our high streets and sent shockwaves through Nottinghamshire.
“We need to do everything possible to help ex-workers from Wilko.”