DISTRIBUTION is being moved from Swindon to France by Triumph despite successful efforts to cut costs and improve efficiency by Menlo, according to Unite’s rep at the site.
News broke on Monday of the lingerie firm’s decision to move its distribution operations from the warehouse it owns at the Groundwell Industrial Estate to its Obernai site in France.
Menlo employees, who work at the distribution centre on behalf of Triumph, have said the result of the announcement is likely to mean 70-plus employees will lose their jobs, though the company is yet to confirm numbers.
Redundancies have not been confirmed by the firm either, though it is thought the employees may well be given the chance to relocate to the Obernai site, according to John McGookin, regional officer for Unite in Swindon.
He said: “At the warehouse they have delivered exceptional improvements in cost efficiency and bent over backwards to support the client.
“It would seem all for nothing. They have worked as hard as they could to deliver every target asked of them.
“They have gone beyond the call of duty in meeting expectations, made huge efficiency savings and then bang, this news comes out.
“The impression I got was that Triumph announced it was moving its warehouse operations to Obernai and the inference of that was it would make the workforce redundant.
“There has been little or no conversation since the announcement, but they may yet still be offered the chance to go to France.
“The vast majority of ladies have worked there for quite some time and are quite mature in their working environments.
“They’re not going to transfer to France, it’s an unrealistic expectation.”
Senior staff at Menlo are said to have been shocked by Monday’s announcement. The logistics firm running the warehouse felt it had developed a strong UK foundation in Swindon.
Senior managers at the site were summoned to the estate on Monday, dealt the news and asked to make an announcement to employees a short time later.
Aside from the staff affected at Menlo, Triumph still has offices based on the industrial estate, with buyers and purchasing departments there, amounting to 30 or 40 people.
In its announcement on Monday, Triumph declared its sales and operating functions would not be affected, but Mr McGookin doesn’t see a long-term future for an office in Swindon with a vacant factory standing next to it.
“The impression I got was everything in Swindon was going, but then I heard there would be a small office remaining,” he said.
“Triumph’s headquarters are in Swindon as well as offices in London, but it’s hard to see how you can maintain that site without the warehouse, without anything.”
The Unite officer will meet with Menlo’s site manager Steve Major on Tuesday, to discuss the future of warehouse operatives at the base.