Home Delivery Network
(HDNL), the UK's largest dedicated home delivery and collection service, is to shed 686 staff as it restructures its business in a bid to cut costs and make efficiency savings, reports RoadTransport.com
It has started the consultation process to close six depots in its one-man network – Daventry, Northants; Sheffield, South Yorks; Burslem, Staffs; Newcastle (outbase); Basildon, Essex; and Eastleigh, Hants – plus the Edmonton, North London hub for its two-man network.
The one-man depots are due to shut by 22 February and the Edmonton hub by September. In all, some 680 jobs are under threat.
Roadtransport.com understands that the firm will also introduce a number of other initiatives to boost efficiency, which will force a review of staffing levels. A leaked memo adds: "It is anticipated that this review will result in further redundancies in 2009."
A statement from HDNL says: "This proposal follows a detailed review of HDNL's depot capacity and service offering which was stimulated by the arrival of a new CEO in February 2008.
"Making these vital strategic changes is key in maintaining HDNL's market-leading position in the delivery-to-home sector as retailers and their internet customers continue to demand greater convenience and breadth of services as well as increasingly keen pricing."
Unions Usdaw and Unite have issued a joint statement, saying their members were 'devastated' by the news.
"The home shopping sector has seen a steady decline over the last few years and these redundancies are not a direct result of the economic downturn, says Usdaw's Irene Radigan. "Our aim is to ensure that those people who are made redundant leave the business with the best chance of securing future employment and that HDNL is able to offer job security to all union members who remain with the company."
Julia Long from Unite added "This announcement has come as a blow to the joint unions. We have been working together over the last year putting changes in place to help the business move forward and become profitable after years of what we believe to be bad decisions made in the past and poor management."
"The decision to close eight sites will have a devastating affect on our members and their families, and we will be doing all we can within the consultation process to save as many jobs as we can," she added.
"The unions are starting the consultation process next week, where the top priority will be to scrutinise the business case for these closures, and to ensure wherever possible we can find alternative work in the depots."