Co-op jobs on the line

TWENTY jobs are at risk at the Co-op's greengrocery warehouse in Sproughton Road, The Evening Star can reveal today.The Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society has decided to make fresh arrangements for the delivery of fruit and veg to its chain of shops which means that the drivers and warehouse staff based at Boss Hall Industrial Estate in Ipswich will not be needed after next month.

TWENTY jobs are at risk at the Co-op's greengrocery warehouse in Sproughton Road, The Evening Star can reveal today.

The Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society has decided to make fresh arrangements for the delivery of fruit and veg to its chain of shops which means that the drivers and warehouse staff based at Boss Hall Industrial Estate in Ipswich will not be needed after next month.

Assistant general manager of the society Bill Knowles told The Star that they needed to review the way things are done and they looked to the Co-operative Group, the national body, for the solution.

"We have for some time had an involvement with a delivery company in Thetford which is part of the Co-operative Group and from November we shall be using them to deliver greengrocery to our network of shops," said Mr Knowles.


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He said that 20 people are likely to be affected but the Co-op would be looking to find alternative employment for them.

Although Mr Knowles could not confirm when the Thetford company would be taking over, The Star understands it will be from November 7.

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One employee who has been delivering fruit and vegetables for more than 30 years said he was gutted.

Another said they had been promised help in finding alternative jobs within the organisation but he was not too hopeful anything would be available.

This is the latest shake up at the Co-op which last week handed over its Sterling Motor's car showroom at Norwich Road to the Essex-based Glyn Hopkins group.

Tony Matthews, manager of the new Norwich Road showroom said this is the first Suffolk branch and the group's twelfth.

"We took over last Wednesday and although we brought some of our own showroom personnel with us we did invite any Sterling employees to stay," he said.

Mr Matthews said they have ten Nissan, including Norwich Road, and two Fiat dealerships.

"Our group took over Sterling's Colchester Nissan dealership three years ago and now we are in Ipswich," he added.

In March this year Sterling Motor Group lost the Renault dealership which affected the Norwich Road showroom and threatened ten jobs.

This was down to European competition legislation which prompted Renault to review its network. The branch already had Nissan and this was expanded until recently.

The Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society-owned Sterling Motor Group has branches at Burrell Road and Derby Road with five Peugeot dealerships in addition to Citroen, Vauxhall, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Daewoo and Kia in the county.

Mr Knowles said the Norwich Road showroom was the only Nissan dealership run by Sterling Motors and it was a bit of an "oddball for us".

"We still own the site, run the shop and the petrol forecourt, we just lease the showroom to Glyn Hopkin," he added.

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