Five hundred Midland jobs were today facing the axe after a home shopping giant revealed plans to close its Worcester warehouse, writes John Marsden.
The Transport and General Workers Union blasted the move by Littlewoods Shop Direct as a body blow.
The company yesterday said it wanted to close its three warehouses in Worcester, Eccles and Wigan, Greater Manchester, with the loss of around 1,200 jobs.
It proposed to transfer all its warehouse operations to one site in Shaw, Oldham, also Greater Manchester.
Littlewoods currently employs around 500 people in Worcester, 700 in Wigan, 40 in Eccles, and a further 650 at the surviving warehouse in Shaw.
The company blamed the closure of the three sites - earmarked for next year - on the "excess capacity" in its warehouse operations.
It said: "Littlewoods proposes to concentrate all its warehousing activity from four sites into one at Shaw in Oldham, which is the company's most modern facility.
"It is proposed that the remaining sites at Eccles, Wigan and Worcester will close in 2007. The proposed changes are expected to take place over the next year and are likely to result in approximately 1,200 job losses."
Littlewoods said it aimed to take on a further 300 workers at Shaw "in the next year or so", which could provide opportunities for staff laid off at the other sites.
The company said any Worcester warehouse workers who wanted to move would be considered.
It said some opportunities may arise at its Droitwich depot, which employs 415, and its Worcester call centre which has 622.