MP to take Shop Direct fight to Downing Street
Date published: 12 April 2018
Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams outside Shop Direct's Shaw warehouse on Linney Lane
Labour’s two MP’s who represent Oldham have reacted with shock and devastation at yesterday's (Wednesday) news that online retailer Shop Direct is to close both warehouses in their constituencies.
In all three of their fulfilment centres are to close as the company looks to move its operations to a new purpose built, fully automated facility in the East Midlands by 2020.
It means almost 2,000 jobs will go at the sites in Linney Lane, Shaw, and the Raven Mill in Chadderton, along with the other warehouse in Little Hulton.
Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams, whose constituency includes Shaw, aimed much of her disappointment at Shop Direct bosses.
She, like the vast majority of others, only heard about Shop Direct's plans yesterday morning.
Mrs Abrahams told the Chronicle: “This is devastating news for the Shop Direct staff and their families, and the anticipated redundancies will have a dreadful effect on the local community.
“I'm bitterly disappointed that Shop Direct failed to engage with the council or myself before this morning about their plans to move to the East Midlands in the 18 months that this has been planned.
“I’ll be working closely with the council, unions and Mayor of Greater Manchester’s office to ensure that Shop Direct management are coordinating properly with trade union representatives and that they keep their commitment to support staff impacted by these anticipated redundancies with relevant financial support, training and advice.”
Mrs Abrahams also added that she would take the fight to Downing Street in a bid to make sure those who are likely to lose their jobs are looked after:
“I’ll also be writing to the Prime Minister, and government ministers, to demand they are fully engaged in the process of supporting my constituents through this difficult process," she added.
Oldham West and Royton MP Jim McMahon said: “This is terrible news for people employed at the sites due for closure including, Shaw and Raven Mill in Oldham.
“Many of my constituents working here will be concerned about the future, and it is vital focused support is given to them.”
In addition, Oldham Council have said they’ll be on hand to help out as much as possible those who are likely to be made redundant adding they were “shocked and disappointed” at the announcement.
Helen Lockwood, Executive Director Economy, Skills and Neighbourhoods, said: “This announcement has come out of the blue and we feel terrible for all those affected.
“The news that a major employer plans to leave is a blow to the borough.
“We are keen to have discussions with the company as soon as possible in order to find a solution that supports our local community.
“Our Get Oldham Working team are ready to offer our help and support to staff.
“We will work to try and find the affected workers new jobs, but we’ll also be providing practical support such as help with CVs and interview practice.
"We’d urge anyone who will be affected to contact the GOW team.”
Mrs Abrahams, Mr McMahon and Oldham Council leader, Cllr Jean Stretton, will meet with Usdaw union officials and reps tomorrow (Friday) in a bid to explore what can be done to persuade Shop Direct to keep their fulfilment facilities in the North-West.