Praise for Co-op holiday firm as it creates 120 jobs at Burslem call centre
MORE than 100 jobs are being created through the expansion of a call centre.
The Co-operative Group is looking for 80 permanent and 40 temporary staff to work at The Co-operative Travel's Burslem office.
BASE: The offices in Hamil Road.
New recruits will join a call centre which will deal with up to 30,000 telephone calls a week at peak times.
The new jobs come months after The Co-operative Travel announced it was merging with Thomas Cook, prompting fears of significant job losses at Burslem because the new firm's base will be in Peterborough.
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But just 20 staff have been made redundant at the Hamil Road offices since then, although those losses have been blamed on "difficult trading conditions".
The Co-operative Travel managing director Mike Greenacre said: "I am pleased that The Co-operative Group remains committed to maintaining Burslem as a key centre for employment."
Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley today welcomed the new jobs after meeting senior Co-operative managers immediately after the merger announcement in October.
She said today: "I have been working with the Co-operative and the Co-operative members on this, asking what the group can do to keep jobs in Burslem.
"There is a real understanding that the Co-op has a debt of honour to Burslem.
"The Co-op is doing what it said it would do. This is good news and it has kept its word for Burslem.
"It's the best news we could have in retaining jobs in the town."
In total, 246 people work at the Burslem site, with 82 of those employed across the whole Co-operative Group.
Usdaw union official Sharon Ainsworth said: "We very much welcome this announcement and the Co-operative Group's ongoing commitment to maintain significant employment at Burslem.
"It is good news for our members and good news for the local area."
Under the proposed merger, Thomas Cook and The Co-operative Travel will retain their separate branding across 1,200 stores.
The companies estimate the deal will save about £35 million through job cuts, store closures and the combination of their headquarters.
The Competition Commission still has to approve the merger after raising concerns about a lack of competition in the package holiday market.
200 vacancies inside today's Jobsite