Major doubts have been cast over 220 jobs at food supplier 3663 First for Foodservice’s depot near Lichfield after the company announced plans to close it.
A formal consultation has begun with workers at the Fradley Park depot, although the company said no final decision had been made.
Union leaders say the move would be “devastating” for hundreds of workers who have already accepted changes to their working hours to help the firm through tough times.
A spokesman for 3663 said cuts were being considered after orders were hit by falling demand.
He said: “We can confirm that we are currently considering the possible closure of Lichfield depot but no final decision has yet been made.
“The continued impact of the current economic climate and a subsequent decrease in business volumes has lead us to review the infrastructure of the 3663 Logistics business.
“After an analysis of business efficiency, it has become necessary to consider the potential reduction in the number of logistics sites. Based on geographical location and additional capacity at other sites, the possible closure of Lichfield depot is currently being considered. No final decision has been made and we will be entering into full collective consultation with the affected employees at the beginning of July.
“The proposed closure in no way reflects on the commitment, quality and dedication of the staff at the Lichfield depot. As a result of the consultation process we are unable to disclose any further detail at this point in time,” the spokesman added.
Buckinghamshire-based 3663 has 40 depots around the country employing more than 6,400 people. It supplies fresh, chilled and frozen food across the UK, including to Compass plc, Prêt a Manger and Burger King.
Mohammed Khalik, an official at the GMB union, said workers at the Fradley Park depot had endeavoured to help the business by accepting new working arrangements.
He said: “This is obviously devastating news for our members who work at the Fradley site. It is all the more disappointing when you consider the fact the vast majority of our members are either working short time or to a new flexi time agreement – both of which have been agreed to help avoid redundancies and assist the company through these difficult times.
“The GMB is focused on saving as many jobs as possible and also making sure that the company treat GMB members fairly in this very difficult economic environment.”
Councillor Mike Wilcox, whose Alrewas and Fradley ward covers the premises, believes any closure would be a blow to the area – especially given the potential job losses involved.
He told local news site The Lichfield Blog: “It will be a shame if it does close as no-one likes to see jobs lost.
“It is disappointing as well to see that we won’t have complete employment at the site, especially as the new service centre featuring shops and food outlets is being built for the use of workers at Fradley Park as well as local residents.”