Staff appeal to M&S to ‘work with them’

Marks and Spencer has announced the clousre of its distribution centre in Mallusk.
Marks and Spencer has announced the clousre of its distribution centre in Mallusk.

Staff at the M&S distribution depot in Mallusk have appealed to management to “work with them” after it was announced that hundreds of jobs are to be lost.

Last week Marks & Spencer announced it was to close the warehouse section of the business at the Hyde Park facility next year.

Cross-docking and re-pricing operations at the centre will not be affected, however M&S has told the Times that of the 355 people who work at the centre two thirds of staff will be affected by the warehouse closure.

The retailer said the decision was being taken so it could become “a more efficient, international, multi-channel retailer”.

“We understand that it will be an unsettling time for all involved and will do all we can to offer support throughout the process,” said a company spokesman.

Logistics company DHL, which operates the site, also stressed it would be working with staff and said the announcement did not reflect on the “quality of work at the site”.

Sean Smyth, from the union Unite called on both companies to work with staff.

He said: “Everyone was just totally devastated with the news. There was a lot of anger and frustration, but it was not a total surprise, although people were still shocked when the announcement was made.

“For the past two years we have been trying to get answers over concerns about the site closing - that’s when we should have been told.

“There are families that work there, husbands and their wives and some with sons working with them. That will be three incomes lost to some households.

“We worked out that staff at the centre had worked a combined 1,000 years, only to now face the uncertainty of this.”

He went on: “We are asking that both DHL and Marks & Spencer now come out and tell us exactly what will be happening, when and who to?

“We need them to fully consult, offer meaningful consultation and provide training.

“DHL have said it will bring in free government training, but I think a company that can sponsor Man United and F1 can afford its own training.”