Morrisons is consulting union chiefs about possible job losses at its Stockton-on-Tees distribution centre.

Unite and Usdaw officials were this week meeting Morrisons management to discuss the 83 jobs at risk, including drivers and office and warehouse staff. A 30-day consulation period has begun.

Morrisons said it was creating 1,200 permanent jobs at a new distribution centre in Sittingbourne, Kent.

"Because of this, work gets shuffled around the system and it means there is less in some areas," said a Morrisons spokesman. He said 83 jobs were potentially at risk but that the final number could be lower. No other jobs at DCs would be affected, he added.

"We will be talking with employee representatives over the next few days to identify ways we can minimise the number of people affected - our ambition is to avoid redundancies through a number of options, including offering our staff alternative roles.

"By introducing the Sittingbourne site into the distribution network, Morrisons will optimise its performance: creating efficiencies, reducing the amount of time it takes food to travel from farm to store, and further reducing carbon emissions."