South East Wales

Tesco set to cut 1,100 Cardiff call centre jobs

Tesco Cardiff call centre Image copyright Google
Image caption Tesco proposes closing the call centre in Cardiff in February 2018

Up to 1,100 jobs are expected to go at a Tesco call centre in Cardiff, the supermarket giant has confirmed.

Tesco said it was consolidating its customer engagement centres (CEC) into a single site in Dundee, where 250 jobs would be created.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said there would be help available to those affected at the Heath site.

Tesco said it needed to ensure its business is "sustainable and cost effective".

The company is proposing to close the Cardiff CEC in February.

Tesco boss Matt Davies said the "retail sector is facing unprecedented challenges" and it had to meet the "changing needs of our customers".

"To help us achieve this, we've taken the difficult decision to close our customer service operations in Cardiff."

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Media captionTesco's plans are "concerning" Carwyn Jones says

Mr Jones said he had spoken to Mr Davies and "expressed my concern about the proposals".

"I pressed on the chief executive the need for a decent and generous package for the workers there," he added.

"I offered whatever help we can offer as a government and of course there will be help available to those affected by the closure."

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said he understood it was a "commercial decision for Tesco" but the news "will cause a great deal of concern" to workers.

He said he was "committed to working with relevant agencies, local authorities and the Welsh Government".

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Media captionWorker Gareth Edwards said the closure had "come out of the blue"

Union USDAW divisional officer Nick Ireland said: "Tesco's Cardiff call centre staff are understandably shocked by the announcement of the company's planned closure, they are being briefed by managers this afternoon.

"This is clearly devastating news for our members and will have a wider impact on south Wales, as so many jobs are potentially lost to our local economy."

He said the union would enter consultation talks with Tesco to look at the business case for the proposed closure.

News of the closure was raised in the Senedd by Cardiff North Labour AM Julie Morgan.

She said: "It's been there for many years - I've visited it on many occasions. What can the cabinet secretary do with this dismaying announcement?"

Economy Secretary Ken Skates replied: "I have instructed my officials to put together a package of support for those who could be affected."

Mr Skates later said it was "devastating news" for the workers.

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Media captionUnion USDAW divisional officer Nick Ireland said the job losses were "devastating"

Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew RT Davies called the Welsh Government's response a "damning indictment" of its record on jobs.

"It is scandalous that the cabinet secretary only found out about the decision 45 minutes before it was announced - when the Welsh Government should be far better connected to such a major decision," he said.

"It comes after Barclays announced the closure of its mortgage centre in Llanishen - where 180 jobs were lost."

UKIP AM for South Wales Central, Gareth Bennett, said it was a "tremendous blow" and he had written to Tesco for urgent answers on the plans.

Plaid Cymru called on the supermarket giant to clarify whether it has received any assistance to move to Scotland, or whether a cost-cutting decision has been made.

Shadow economy secretary Adam Price said: "In recent years Cardiff has seen sustained growth in the retail sector, but we're now facing a difficult future due to the weakness of the pound and the prospect of increased food inflation.

"With call centres consistently being prioritised by the Welsh Government, we need to be reassured about the future of that industry and that type of work."

Cardiff council leader Huw Thomas called the move "both surprising and disappointing".

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Media captionCardiff North AM Julie Morgan asked what could be done

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