Employees face axe as firm shuts down

DOZENS of employees could be out of a job in a few weeks because a firm is shutting its office in Claydon.

Naomi Cassidy

DOZENS of employees could be out of a job in a few weeks because a firm is shutting its office in Claydon.

Direct Choice plans to close its call centre next month, meaning the 110 members of staff have the option of relocating to Kent or taking voluntary redundancy.

A frustrated employee has hit out at the way the company has treated staff over the changes, claiming the majority of people cannot move to Folkestone due to commitments in Suffolk.

A further 110 people employed in a Direct Choice office in Newmarket also face the same dilemma.

The Claydon office is due to close on July 16.

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The staff member, who did not want to be named, said: “The majority of people are going to lose their jobs because they cannot move. I don't know what I am going to do. I feel like we haven't had any help in finding other jobs.

“The salary is about �8,000 less in Folkestone.”

Paul Green, head of communications for Saga, which owns Direct Choice, said some people had already moved to Kent and lots of support had been given to staff to find alternative employment.

He said the decision to close the offices was down to the rapid expansion of the company and the need to relocate to more spacious premises.

“Thirty members of staff from Direct Choice came from Claydon and Newmarket to visit Folkestone,” he added. “The feedback was very positive.

“The base salary is slightly less in Folkestone than what is offered in Claydon for some positions but the hours are different. At Direct Choice they work 40-hours a week but in Folkestone it will be 35-hours per week. There is also the opportunity to earn uncapped commission.

“We obviously can't force them to relocate but would like to take them all with us.”

Around 80 per cent of those affected are employed as call centre staff while the remaining 20 per cent hold management, audit and training roles within the company.

Have you been affected by redundancy due to the recession? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.