Stoke & Staffordshire

Burslem Co-op job losses 'inevitable'

Thomas Cook shop
Image caption The firms say the move with lead to £35m savings

Co-operative Travel's headquarters will no longer be in Staffordshire following its merger with Thomas Cook.

Co-operative Group head Peter Marks said "inevitably" there would be some job losses as the Burslem office merged with Thomas Cook's headquarters in Peterborough.

The two firms announced earlier their High Street travel businesses would merge to save money.

The Co-op said some key functions would remain in Burslem.

The Burslem headquarters employs about 250 people in roles such as administration, finance and human resources.

The move would help create annual savings of more than £35m across the two firms, they said.

Mr Marks said the merger, which will bring together 1,204 stores, would secure a profitable business for the future.

The Co-op said the headquarters for the new venture would be in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, where most of its support services were already based.

Key business functions will stay in Burslem where it is hoped other jobs will be created over the coming months, it added.

'Particularly vulnerable'

Mr Marks said: "Inevitably there will be a number of job losses as we merge the two head offices.

"But what we're going to try to do, over a period of time, is to mitigate that by introducing other functions into the buildings where these back operations go so we can make sure any job losses are at a minimum."

He said it was hoped the merger would take place by Christmas.

Joan Walley, Labour MP for Stoke North, has called for an urgent meeting with the Co-op about the plans affecting one of Burslem's main employers.

"Today's breaking news is of concern. And I shall want assurances that everything is being done to keep as many jobs as possible in Burslem."

She said Stoke was "particularly vulnerable" to the economic recession and cuts.

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