‘Really sad day’ as 269 workers to be made redundant at Wilko Worksop support centre
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The retailer entered administration last month following a fall in customers and financial losses fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company has its headquarters, a support centre and a distribution hub in Worksop.
Now administrators Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) has confirmed at least 269 jobs are to be cut from the Worksop support centre as part of the administration process.
These staff will no longer work at the organisation from the end of today (Monday, September 4), PwC said.
Further job losses at the distribution centre and another distribution hub in Newport, Wales, are expected in the coming days, though PwC did not confirm specific details.
The administrator is due to outline further information – including how many will be cut from the Worksop distribution hub – in the coming days.
PwC said: “The decision has been taken to make 269 support centre team member roles redundant, effective from close of business on Monday, September 4.
“Further redundancies across the two distribution centres [are to be announced from early this week], exact numbers to be confirmed.”
HMV owner and Canada-based businessman Doug Putman is still reported to be in talks over a rescue deal to protect and buy parts of the retailer.
Mr Putman, 39, whose family also owns Toys ‘R’ Us in Canada, made an offer last week for 300 of Wilko’s 400 stores.
This would secure between 8,000 and 9,000 jobs out of the 12,500 total workforce.
However, ‘no viable suitor’ – including Mr Putman as well as retailers B&M, Home Bargains and Poundland – has put forward a bid for the whole Wilko group.
PwC said this meant it was “necessary” to confirm the support centre redundancies.
Bassetlaw District Council has confirmed it is offering support to affected staff and urged for a solution to ensure numbers are limited.
And Councillor Josie Potts (Lab), who represents the Worksop South East ward where the hubs are based, said the process could have a “massive impact” on her community.
She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I don’t live far from it as it’s in my ward just down the road.
“I think it’s sad – really, really sad. There’s going to be a lot of people out of work.
“Cabinet members, the leader, the deputy leader have been in talks and I know the council has been supporting them big time.
“I think this will have a massive impact on my area, it’s just like the Thatcher years.”
In a statement issued last week, Councillor James Naish (Lab), the district council’s leader, added: “We continue to be in regular contact with the administrators, the unions and other stakeholders to ensure that we are ready to support Wilko employees.
“Protecting as many workers as possible should remain everyone’s top priority at this time and we are proactively looking at all options locally to keep the Bassetlaw site active.”
Scott Knowles, chief executive of the East Midlands Chamber, says a “positive resolution” to the administration is “important to our region’s economy”.
But he added: “This is clearly a very difficult time for the 12,000 people whose livelihoods are affected by the ongoing uncertainty and everyone dearly hopes as many of those jobs as possible are protected.
“For anyone who does find themselves in the deeply unfortunate position of redundancy in the coming weeks, we are confident the business community will step up to find people a new role.”
All Wilko stores, including 15 across Nottinghamshire, currently remain open to customers.
Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith has been approached for comment.