Job fears as Iceland in St Matthew’s Street, Ipswich announces closure

Iceland Foods in St Matthew's Street, Ipswich, will close later this year.

Iceland Foods in St Matthew's Street, Ipswich, will close later this year. - Credit: Lucy taylor

Long-serving staff at an Ipswich supermarket have been left in the dark about the future of their jobs after a sudden announcement that the branch will be closing in September, it is claimed.

A letter was sent out to employees of Iceland Foods in St Matthew’s Street last week confirming the closure – just two months after work hours were cut by more than half for some.

Barbara Wilson, 58, who has worked at the company for 22 years, said she raised concerns in May when her weekly hours were sliced from 28 and a half to just seven and a half. She questioned at that point if the store would be closing, especially after a new Iceland opened in Tower Ramparts in March last year, but was reassured their jobs were safe.

The St Matthew’s Street store stopped its home delivery service at Christmas last year, Mrs Wilson said, and she saw this as a sign the store may be struggling.

The employees were called into a meeting two weeks ago where they were told the branch would close in September, and were asked to not tell members of the public, Mrs Wilson claimed. This was followed by a formal letter last week from the area manager.

“We were told they would try and do what they can, if not it would be redundancy,” Mrs Wilson added.

She said the reason given for the closure was that the store was “not profitable”.

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Three other members of staff, who have all worked for Iceland for more than 10 years, also had their hours reduced to seven and a half in May, Mrs Wilson claimed.

The employees are concerned that if they are let go, their redundancy money would reflect their reduced hours – despite not yet signing a renewed contract.

Mrs Wilson said staff were upset and confused by the announcement, adding: “We are all sticking together and trying to do what we can. We won’t accept it unless we know what we will be getting at the end of it.”

A 30-day consultation period starting on August 2 will take place for employees to discuss their options, Mrs Wilson said.

“We don’t know what that means, we haven’t had any answers to anything,” she added. “We don’t expect to be treated like that.”

An Iceland spokeswoman confirmed the store was scheduled to close this year.

She said: “As always the company’s position is to find reasonable redeployment opportunities for our store colleagues wherever possible.”