65 jobs under threat as the Co-operative withdraws North Staffordshire work
SIXTY-FIVE jobs are under threat after The Co-operative announced plans to transfer work out of North Staffordshire.
The group has revealed it is moving all of its financial shared services centre (FSSC) operations to its headquarters in Manchester.
As a result, 34 employees at the Co-op’s base in Burslem and 31 at Britannia, in Leek, have been told they can either relocate or take what a spokesman described as ‘enhanced’ redundancy terms.
In a separate move the group is moving its 30-strong estates team, currently based in Hanley, to Burslem.
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A spokesman said: “We regret having to make these changes to our FSSC operations but they are essential, particularly given the need for greater financial control and tougher regulatory requirements.”
He added: “The moving of our estates teams from Hanley to Burslem will provide them with far better quality accommodation and improved facilities.”
The decision to transfer the FSSC team from Burslem comes just months after it was slashed by almost two-thirds as a result of last year’s merger between the Co-op’s travel business and Thomas Cook.
The Sentinel reported in February that 92 employees were being asked to apply for just 35 jobs.
The Hamil Road site is also home to 80 membership services employees. It was previously the Co-operative Travel’s headquarters, but all 80 travel jobs were moved to Thomas Cook’s Peterborough base following the merger.
The Co-op said the latest FSSC changes are due to come into effect at the end of March next year while the estates move will take place this December.
Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley, whose constituency includes Burslem, said: “The Co-op haven’t shared this news with me and I’m disappointed with that.
“You can understand them wanting to concentrate their finance-related roles on one site in Manchester but it is obviously bad news for our local jobs and I shall be asking them if they are going to be taking any mitigating measures.
“When they closed the travel division there they gave me assurances they were looking to maximise other employment opportunities at Burslem.
“I don’t know whether this latest move was always part of their grand plan but I will certainly be asking them about the thinking behind it.”
Britannia Building Society merged with the Co-operative Banking Group in 2009. At that time there were about 2,000 employees in Leek but that dropped to 1,700 last September and is now around 1,400.
Staffordshire Moorlands MP Karen Bradley, below, said: “Once the merger happened it was always inevitable they were going to get rid of some people because there was a duplication of roles.
“But we have got to make sure we retain as many jobs as possible in the Moorlands, so it is incredibly disappointing to see any being lost.
“The Co-op have continued to state they are committed to having a significant presence in Leek and I hope they continue to be one of our major employers for many years to come.
“But we also need to attract more employers, we can’t be reliant on just one.”