123 jobs to go as floods cause Co-op to close Oxford depot

The Oxford Times: Osney Mead has suffered severe flooding in recent months Osney Mead has suffered severe flooding in recent months

MORE than 120 jobs are set to be axed at a Co-op distribution centre in Oxford.

The Midcounties Co-operative yesterday announced it wants to close its Chilled Distribution Centre in Ferry Hinksey Road, off Osney Mead, West Oxford, with the loss of 123 jobs.

The centre’s employees were told on Tuesday they may be out of a job by May 5.

Last night the company confirmed the news.

Deputy chief executive Andy Cresswell said: “If the proposal is confirmed it will result in the closure of the site and regrettably, redundancies are likely.

“We recognise this is an unsettling time for our colleagues and we are focused on supporting them through this period.”

Problems with flooding at the site were cited as one of the reasons for the plans.

Ferry Hinksey Road was closed due to flooding in November last year and January this year.

A woman whose husband works at the centre, and who did not want to be named, said she did not know what her family would do if the site closes.

She said: “I haven’t stopped crying since Tuesday, we have a mortgage and children.

“Nobody really knows why they are closing it. They have been open here since 1989. “We are just gutted – 110 staff were told they will be going even before May 5 although we would be paid until then.

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“We thought we were set for life. During the flooding it was difficult for the lorries, and a centre at Andover in Hampshire was used instead. And apparently that all went very well.”

As well as flooding, chief executive Ben Reid said the plans were also a result of company growth.

The site was found to be unsuitable for expansion.

He said: “The number of convenience stores and supermarkets that Midcounties operates has grown considerably in recent years and that growth will continue, which is why we have undertaken a considered and in-depth review of our logistics operation.”

The Midcounties Co-operative already uses distribution centres operated by Co-operative Group and is considering moving the rest of its operations into that network.

The 90-day consultation period for the decision began on Tuesday and ends on May 5.

Nigel Wild, president of Oxfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Any loss of jobs is regrettable. It is a shame and we hope they are able to find new jobs or that they can be transferred elsewhere.

“I had heard the distribution centre was problematic. The premises were causing a lot of problems.”

Midcounties Co-operative spokesman Nigel Pipkin said he couldn’t say if there would be offers for employees to move elsewhere because they were in a consultation period.

Mr Cresswell added: “We still have a major presence in Oxford and the surrounding area and we are committed to supporting our stores and the communities in which they trade.”

There are 51 stores in Oxfordshire, employing 1,435 staff.

Comments (9)

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11:45am Sat 9 Feb 13

OxfordStu says...

It's never nice to find out you're going to be made redundant, but how can anyone ever think they're "set for life" working in a Co-op distribution centre?
It's never nice to find out you're going to be made redundant, but how can anyone ever think they're "set for life" working in a Co-op distribution centre? OxfordStu
  • Score: 2

1:14pm Sat 9 Feb 13

WitneyGreen says...

OxfordStu wrote:
It's never nice to find out you're going to be made redundant, but how can anyone ever think they're "set for life" working in a Co-op distribution centre?
Absolutely. No-one is set for life these days wherever they work.

A pity that flooding has caused the warehouse closure, though - I wonder whether the warehouse / the land it's on will ever be usable again?
[quote][p][bold]OxfordStu[/bold] wrote: It's never nice to find out you're going to be made redundant, but how can anyone ever think they're "set for life" working in a Co-op distribution centre?[/p][/quote]Absolutely. No-one is set for life these days wherever they work. A pity that flooding has caused the warehouse closure, though - I wonder whether the warehouse / the land it's on will ever be usable again? WitneyGreen
  • Score: 1

2:50pm Sat 9 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

WitneyGreen wrote:
OxfordStu wrote:
It's never nice to find out you're going to be made redundant, but how can anyone ever think they're "set for life" working in a Co-op distribution centre?
Absolutely. No-one is set for life these days wherever they work.

A pity that flooding has caused the warehouse closure, though - I wonder whether the warehouse / the land it's on will ever be usable again?
Perhaps simply not suitable for the prompt handling of perishable goods?
[quote][p][bold]WitneyGreen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]OxfordStu[/bold] wrote: It's never nice to find out you're going to be made redundant, but how can anyone ever think they're "set for life" working in a Co-op distribution centre?[/p][/quote]Absolutely. No-one is set for life these days wherever they work. A pity that flooding has caused the warehouse closure, though - I wonder whether the warehouse / the land it's on will ever be usable again?[/p][/quote]Perhaps simply not suitable for the prompt handling of perishable goods? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

3:16pm Sat 9 Feb 13

Myron Blatz says...

Osney Mead Industrial Estate (or whatever posher name it may now have) was never really suited to the ever-bigger trucks used in supply and distribution. Though Osney and Botley Road had been important to the needs of the Coop for a great many years - especially when it had facilities involved with milk production and distribution - the way the Coop operates has dramatically changed in recent decades, and especially with regard to its growth, and take-overs of other supermarkets across the region.
Osney Mead Industrial Estate (or whatever posher name it may now have) was never really suited to the ever-bigger trucks used in supply and distribution. Though Osney and Botley Road had been important to the needs of the Coop for a great many years - especially when it had facilities involved with milk production and distribution - the way the Coop operates has dramatically changed in recent decades, and especially with regard to its growth, and take-overs of other supermarkets across the region. Myron Blatz
  • Score: 1

5:51pm Sat 9 Feb 13

faatmaan says...

this was planned long before the recent floods, this is just an easy opt out for the COOP, they have known historically the problems of this estate for many years, feel very sorry for the people losing their jobs
this was planned long before the recent floods, this is just an easy opt out for the COOP, they have known historically the problems of this estate for many years, feel very sorry for the people losing their jobs faatmaan
  • Score: 0

10:13pm Sat 9 Feb 13

RJOxford says...

faatmaan wrote:
this was planned long before the recent floods, this is just an easy opt out for the COOP, they have known historically the problems of this estate for many years, feel very sorry for the people losing their jobs
Midcounties Co-op have no interest in Oxford anymore, hence why they relocated their head office to Warwick. I worked for them for fifteen months before being made redundant - it was living hell. They are a horrible company and staff morale was rock bottom.

People think that the Co-op is the "ethical" choice compared to Tesco, Sainbury's etc. but they are no better - in fact they are worse. The fact they have 51 stores in Oxfordshire is disgraceful.
[quote][p][bold]faatmaan[/bold] wrote: this was planned long before the recent floods, this is just an easy opt out for the COOP, they have known historically the problems of this estate for many years, feel very sorry for the people losing their jobs[/p][/quote]Midcounties Co-op have no interest in Oxford anymore, hence why they relocated their head office to Warwick. I worked for them for fifteen months before being made redundant - it was living hell. They are a horrible company and staff morale was rock bottom. People think that the Co-op is the "ethical" choice compared to Tesco, Sainbury's etc. but they are no better - in fact they are worse. The fact they have 51 stores in Oxfordshire is disgraceful. RJOxford
  • Score: 1

2:00am Sun 10 Feb 13

Grunden Skip says...

faatmaan wrote:
this was planned long before the recent floods, this is just an easy opt out for the COOP, they have known historically the problems of this estate for many years, feel very sorry for the people losing their jobs
During the real floods of 2007 there was no mention of closure then, as said above it is just a cop out because the national distribution network will force the closure of local depots just as this one. Because everybody has been pre-occupied with demonising TESCO and keeping them in the headlines, you all have seemed to miss the way that the Co-Op have been moving away from their roots, and turning into a very aggressive, and not people friendly corporation. Ah well, at least Tesco are not shedding jobs, maybe look to them for the future.
[quote][p][bold]faatmaan[/bold] wrote: this was planned long before the recent floods, this is just an easy opt out for the COOP, they have known historically the problems of this estate for many years, feel very sorry for the people losing their jobs[/p][/quote]During the real floods of 2007 there was no mention of closure then, as said above it is just a cop out because the national distribution network will force the closure of local depots just as this one. Because everybody has been pre-occupied with demonising TESCO and keeping them in the headlines, you all have seemed to miss the way that the Co-Op have been moving away from their roots, and turning into a very aggressive, and not people friendly corporation. Ah well, at least Tesco are not shedding jobs, maybe look to them for the future. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 1

2:20am Sun 10 Feb 13

Myron Blatz says...

Well, the good news, RJOxford, is that all those Tory and LibDem supporters who shop at the Coop (despite its prices being higher than many small corner shops!) help to fund and support local Labour and Co-operative Party candidates - ironic, when you think about it!
Well, the good news, RJOxford, is that all those Tory and LibDem supporters who shop at the Coop (despite its prices being higher than many small corner shops!) help to fund and support local Labour and Co-operative Party candidates - ironic, when you think about it! Myron Blatz
  • Score: 1

6:51pm Sun 10 Feb 13

Alfie Nokes says...

Grunden Skip wrote:
faatmaan wrote:
this was planned long before the recent floods, this is just an easy opt out for the COOP, they have known historically the problems of this estate for many years, feel very sorry for the people losing their jobs
During the real floods of 2007 there was no mention of closure then, as said above it is just a cop out because the national distribution network will force the closure of local depots just as this one. Because everybody has been pre-occupied with demonising TESCO and keeping them in the headlines, you all have seemed to miss the way that the Co-Op have been moving away from their roots, and turning into a very aggressive, and not people friendly corporation. Ah well, at least Tesco are not shedding jobs, maybe look to them for the future.
or maybe ditch ALL the false economies altogether?
[quote][p][bold]Grunden Skip[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]faatmaan[/bold] wrote: this was planned long before the recent floods, this is just an easy opt out for the COOP, they have known historically the problems of this estate for many years, feel very sorry for the people losing their jobs[/p][/quote]During the real floods of 2007 there was no mention of closure then, as said above it is just a cop out because the national distribution network will force the closure of local depots just as this one. Because everybody has been pre-occupied with demonising TESCO and keeping them in the headlines, you all have seemed to miss the way that the Co-Op have been moving away from their roots, and turning into a very aggressive, and not people friendly corporation. Ah well, at least Tesco are not shedding jobs, maybe look to them for the future.[/p][/quote]or maybe ditch ALL the false economies altogether? Alfie Nokes
  • Score: 1

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