The news that more than 130 jobs are to go at the Marks and Spencer distribution centre in Mallusk over the next few weeks has been described as “a devastating blow for employment in the Newtownabbey area.”
DHL Supply Chain, which operates the M&S Hydepark storage and distribution facility, has said that 134 workers will be affected as operations at the site are “scaled down” between now and the start of April.
“M&S has confirmed that Hydepark will become a cross dock operation and re-pricing facility by April 5, 2014. In recent months one-to-one meetings have taken place with affected staff to discuss their options, from taking redundancy to being redeployed in other areas of the business,” a DHL spokesperson told the Times.
“Both Marks & Spencer and DHL thank the team at Hydepark for their ongoing dedication and stress that the decision in no way reflects on the quality of work at the site. DHL will continue to work closely with Marks & Spencer to mitigate disruption to colleagues during this difficult time.”
Antrim Line Councillor Mark Cosgrove, who runs a logistics firm based in Mallusk, described the job losses as “a devastating blow for employment in the greater Newtownabbey area.”
“My heart goes out to those who are going to be made redundant and their families. Logistics jobs are very hard to come by throughout Northern Ireland.
“Clearly Marks and Spencer have changed their whole business model, and I hope that Mallusk will be considered for future investment and job creation should the opportunity arise,” the UUP business spokesman commented.
South Antrim MLA Paul Girvan added: “This facility has given good employment in this area for many years and it is sad that so many jobs are being lost. The retail sector has been under pressure for some time and we hope and pray that things do pick up.
“Hopefully at least some of those affected by these cuts can be relocated to other parts of the business.”
Following the closure of the Hydepark Distribution Centre, stock for Marks and Spencer’s stores across Ireland will come directly from facilities in Great Britain.
It’s understood that a small number of staff will remain at the Mallusk site to carry out price checking and re-labelling work.