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Wilkinson's staff wait to discover fate

PUBLISHED: 09:47 17 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:21 03 July 2010

STAFF working for a high-street chain discount store across East Anglia are still waiting to hear how many jobs are being axed as the company slashes its operating costs.

STAFF working for a high-street chain discount store across East Anglia are still waiting to hear how many jobs are being axed as the company slashes its operating costs.

In November, Wilkinson's management announced that it was to reveal in February how many redundancies would be made across its 312 stores in England and Wales.

It has stressed that the job cuts are not related to trading conditions, with the company experiencing “robust trading”.

It operates stores throughout the region, including Great Yarmouth and Gorleston.

On Monday the company, which employs a total of 25,000 staff, issued a new statement and revealed that, following consultation, the company had now briefed its employees who were likely to be affected.

But it stressed it was committed to minimising the impact on affected employees, and said it was adopting a package of job-saving measures.

These include a reduction in overtime working, a freeze on recruitment of new staff, finding vacant positions at other stores within travelling distance and seeking voluntary redundancies where necessary.

Wilkinson said the job cuts are a result of the introduction of a new stock control and handling system.

Last night's statement said the implementation of the new system was part of an ongoing programme of efficiency improvements.

“We care passionately about our team members and we remain determined to minimise any effect [the new sys-tem] might have on our existing and loyal teams,” a spokesman said.

“This new system has been in development for some time and has nothing to do with retail conditions on the high street, where we are experiencing robust trading as people seek better-value, quality products.”

Wilkinson generates more than £1bn in annual sales.

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