Tesco is launching a consultation over redundancies with 1,100 workers at its call centre in Cardiff, after announcing plans to consolidate its operations at its Customer Engagement Centre (CEC) in Scotland.
The retailer said it planned to create 250 extra jobs, on top of the 900 staff already working in Dundee as part of the modernisation programme.
Although staff at Cardiff will be offered the chance to apply for the jobs, Tesco said it accepted there would be redundancies, and union bosses said staff had been left “shocked” at the proposals.
Tesco said the move would allow it to simplify its operations and make the most of extra capacity at Dundee. The consolidation was part of the wider programme of transformation taking place over the past two years to ensure Tesco runs its business in a “sustainable and cost-effective way”, it said.
Tesco is proposing to close its Cardiff CEC in February next year. It has been running for 11 years, whereas the Dundee centre has been operating for 21 years.
“The retail sector is facing unprecedented challenges and we must ensure we run our business in a sustainable and cost-effective way, while meeting the changing needs of our customers.
“To help us achieve this, we’ve taken the difficult decision to close our customer service operations in Cardiff,” said Tesco UK CEO Matt Davies.
“We realise this will have a significant effect on colleagues in the Cardiff area, and our priority now is to continue to do all we can to support them at this time.”
The union Usdaw slammed the proposals, which it said would have a wider impact on the economy in Wales.
Usdaw divisional officer Nick Ireland said: “Tesco’s Cardiff call centre staff are understandably shocked by the announcement of the company’s planned closure. They are being briefed by managers this afternoon.
“Usdaw reps and officials are providing support to our members at this difficult time. This is clearly devastating news for our members and will have a wider impact on South Wales, as so many jobs are potentially lost to our local economy.
“We will now enter into consultation talks with the company over the coming weeks to look at the business case for the proposed closure. Our priorities are to keep as many members as possible in employment, whether that is with Tesco or other local employers, and to get the best possible deal for our members. In the meantime we are providing the help, advice and support Usdaw members need through this process.”