Jobs facing axe as Waitrose moves from distribution centre in Leicestershire
Hundreds of jobs are set to be axed after Waitrose said it would stop using a major distribution centre in Leicestershire.
The supermarket group's contract with the centre, in Bardon, near Coalville, will end in September after a shake-up of its supplier network.
The announcement is the latest jobs blow to hit the county in the past few days, after hundreds of redundancies at Leicester-based camera chain Jessops, and at car parts firm Schlegel Automative Europe, based close to the Waitrose distribution centre, in Bardon.
It is hoped German-based Kuehne & Nagel , which runs the centre, will be able to secure work from elsewhere and safeguard jobs.
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Kuehne & Nagel spokeswoman Claire Hall said: "As part of a review of their logistics needs, Waitrose has decided not to renew its contract with us at the Bardon regional distribution centre beyond September 1.
"There are 420 people employed at the Bardon site. They are at risk of redundancy at this point in time.
"We are in the process of consulting with our staff and while this is ongoing it would be inappropriate to discuss further."
Waitrose, which has had grocery products supplied by the Bardon centre since 2005, said it had decided it no longer needed the Bardon site after expanding warehouse operations elsewhere.
Spokeswoman Amy Shields said: "We have been building capacity in our supply chain across the country in recent times to meet the needs of our growing branch network. As part of this development we have taken the decision not to renew our contract with Kuehne & Nagel at the Bardon regional distribution centre."
The affected jobs include warehouse workers, office staff and lorry drivers.
Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, will meet the management of Kuehne & Nagel shortly to discuss the centre's future.
"Hopefully, they can pick up some more business for this site to replace the Waitrose work," he said.
"Distribution is the mainstay of North West Leicestershire and if it comes to redundancies we should hopefully see these people re-employed elsewhere in this area."
Councillor John Cotterill, who represents Bardon on North West Leicestershire District Council, said: "Hopefully, they'll be able to find a way around this, but nothing like this is good news, particularly as it comes on the back of the Schlegel closure.
"It's a recession and, unfortunately, when you start rationalising things like this there's always some pain."
Schlegel announced this week it will stop production on January 20 after administrators failed to find a buyer for the stricken business.