Union hopes to can reduce numbers threatened with redundancy as Wilko - with one of its 400 stores in Ely- faces huge dip in profits

PUBLISHED: 11:39 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:40 16 August 2017

From 2015 the former Wilkinsons brand but now Wilko; the Ely store is in the mix for possible shedding of jobs

From 2015 the former Wilkinsons brand but now Wilko; the Ely store is in the mix for possible shedding of jobs

Archant

Union leaders representing many of those who work for Wilco are hopeful that talks with the company can reduce the number of those facing redundancy following a huge dip in profits.

Wilco announced earlier in the week that it was “entering into consultation” with a number of its workers across the company’s 400 stores – including its branch in Ely.

Gary Carter, GMB National Officer, said: “There are going to be redundancies, but we are very confident these can be reduced significantly from the thousands initially feared”.

Wilco’s pre-tax profit fell 80 per cent to £5.1 million in the year up to January 28.

GMB met with Wilko bosses at the company’s headquarters in Worksop in July and other meetings are planned.

Mr Carter said: “This was the first of many discussions we will have with the company during the 60 day consultation.

“We will be having further, difficult conversations during the process.

“We’ve had people on the phone to us in tears – people who have been with the company 20 or 30 years.

“We all want to see Wilko as thriving, sustainable business with a long term future.

“It is vital GMB helps the company keep any job losses to an absolute minimum.

He addedL “It is important to ensure adequate staffing levels in their stores to maintain an acceptable level of customer service – and to make sure Wilko staff are paid the living wage.

“We are encouraging Wilko to look at alternative ways to save money, which protect existing job roles.

“It’s a hazy picture at the moment, but we will be looking at each store individually with Wilko.

“There are going to be redundancies, but we are very confident these can be reduced significantly from the thousands initially feared.”

Many fear up to 4,000 jobs could go but with re-structuring Wilco hope to create another 1,000 jobs.

Anthony Houghton, retail director, said: “Wilko is committed to the future growth of the business and reviewing how we stay relevant to our customers.”

“We do this by making sure all retail operations are fit for the future in order to provide customers with the best possible service.”

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