284 jobs axed as Comet call centre in Hull closes
HUNDREDS of jobs are to be axed after a company founded in Hull announced the closure of its call centre.
Comet has now confirmed it is closing its call centre in George Street, resulting in about 284 job losses in the city.
Work will be transferred to the company's call centre in Clevedon, near Bristol.
Diana Johnson, MP for Hull North, said the job losses were yet another devastating blow to Hull's economy.
IS YOUR CAR KEY BENT ? REMOTE FOB NOT WORKING ? LOST CAR KEYS ?...View details
FOR ALL YOUR CAR KEY NEEDS CALL US NOW ON
SNAPPED KEYS, LOST KEYS, KEYS LOCKED IN VEHICLES,
WE ALSO REPAIR 90% OF ALL REMOTES AND KEYS, NO FIX NO CHARGE.
Terms: FREE REMOTE KEY FOB BATTERY ONE PER CUSTOMER
SAVE £3.00 WITH THIS FREE BATTERY
Contact: 01482 423414
Contact: 01482 423414
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
She said: "It is deeply disappointing to hear Comet will be closing its Hull call centre.
"It is particularly sad for the city as Comet was founded in Hull and was one of the city's most significant employers.
"This comes at a time when unemployment is at an all time high.
"Carillion is making redundancies in the city and we still have BAE job losses hanging over us.
"It is a very upsetting time for everybody concerned."
Staff at the centre have spoken to the Mail about their disgust after claiming they were this week tasked with training staff from Clevedon – staff, they say, will ultimately be taking over their jobs.
One worker, who did not wish to be named, said: "The whole thing stinks.
"This week, team leaders and line managers from Clevedon have been to Hull and we have been going through the process of showing them how things work and the processes we use – basically showing them how to do our jobs.
"This was before we were told the Hull call centre would definitely close but we all suspected this would happen a long time ago."
Comet launched a 90-day consultation into plans to merge its Hull and Clevedon call centres on February 23.
At the time, the company said it had not made a decision either way. However, workers hoped the company's strong Hull connections would save it.
That consultation will end in May although employees said most workers eventually "saw what was coming" and have been looking for work.
Comet was founded in Hull in 1933 by George Hollingbery, who rented out radios and batteries.
In the 1950s, he set up his first shop in George Street, Hull.
His son, Michael Hollingbery, later launched the UK's first out-of-town superstore, which prompted the company's strong growth across the UK.
Today, Comet operates 248 stores and has about 10,000 staff in the UK.
However, tumbling sales, combined with rising pension costs saw the company report a loss of £22.3 million in the six months to October 31 last year.
In November, its then-owners Kesa Electricals called time on the loss- making business and sold it to retail turnaround firm OpCapita for £2.
As part of the deal, Kesa pumped £50 million into the struggling electricals chain and took on the firm's pension scheme.
Another worker, who did not wish to be named, said the company had turned its back on its loyal Hull workforce.
They said: "Staff are expected to remain loyal yet where is the help and support for people who have worked very hard for many years?
"The whole thing is causing a lot of upset across the Hull office."
Comet said its Business Centre in Hull, which employs about 160 staff, will remain open.
The company said it is also providing on-site support for workers to help them find new employment.
A spokesman said: "Following the proposal to move from two contact centres to one, Comet can confirm that, having carried out extensive research, the decision has been made to close the call centre in Hull and move the activity to our Clevedon base.
"In spite of this, we are pleased to say the company will be retaining the business-to-business and insurance team and so we still be a large scale of employer of just under 200 individuals in the Hull Business Centre."
The company declined to comment on workers' claims they have been tasked with training their Clevedon colleagues to do their jobs.