17:10 Monday 10th January 2011 Drivetime BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
ANDY BURROWS: We start today with some pretty grim news for staff at the Co-op distribution centre in Peterborough. 230 jobs are under threat, after the company announced its depot in Ivatt Way in Westwood will shut in the Autumn. The firm has said the move is being made after a company review. It said efforts will be made to redeploy staff. The company has sites in Huntingdon and Godmanchester, and plans for a new base in Hampshire. But it is likely there will be redundancies in Peterborough. Let’s speak to the Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson. Evening to you Mr Jackson.
STEWART JACKSON: Good evening Andy.
ANDY BURROWS: Your reaction to this desperate news at any time of the year, but particularly the start in January?
STEWART JACKSON: Well very sad, and obviously I’m very concerned and disappointed for the people working at the Co-op distribution centre, and my hope is clearly that the management of the Co-op is in a position to offer people who want to continue to work for the company an alternative package of relocation, and they keep the number of compulsory redundancies to an absolute minimum. Because it’s as you quite rightly say, people have perhaps spent a bit over Christmas. They haven’t got much money at the moment. To be told they’re going to lose their jobs is very disappointing, particularly as Peterborough has developed a good reputation for distribution and transport. And it seems to be going in a different direction, and this is very bad news today.
ANDY BURROWS: Yes. As you say Peterborough rather has developed a whole series of logistics sites, warehouses, call them what you like, across the city in the last few years. But what we don’t want to see now is companies starting to back out.
STEWART JACKSON: Well exactly, and I think with the new Local Enterprise Partnership, where we will have a strategic link to Cambridge, clearly we need to take advantage of the city’s attributes and advantages, which are that it’s on a good fast rail line, it’s at the centre of a regional road network that’s very strong, and we have existing transport logistics and distribution businesses here. For whatever reason, Co-op obviously have concluded that their future isn’t in Peterborough. That’s very sad. But as I say I hope that they’re in a position to offer new jobs to people. I’m disappointed they’re moving to Hampshire. i don’t really understand why. But I will be seeking to speak to the management at the Co-op to make sure they do everything they can to help people with their CVs for new jobs, and obviously relocate them if appropriate to Godmanchester or Huntingdon.
ANDY BURROWS: We did invite a representative of the Co-op to come on tonight but they said they weren’t going to put anybody up for interview, which is rather disappointing. But perhaps on a day like today they’ve got other things that are more pressing, like talking to the staff.