SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has been accused of failing to keep its promise to Milton Keynes of jobs galore for decades to come.
This week 1,000 workers learned the Fenny Lock warehouse was to close and move to Daventry.
The news, hailed as “devastating” by the unions, comes 13 years after the warehouse opened with much local aplomb.
The company battled against Bletchley residents fearing noise, increased traffic and disruption to win planning permission from Milton Keynes Council.
And it was welcomed with open arms – and an open purse – by the then Commission for New Towns, which owned the site.
“Tesco was given the land very, very cheaply because of the promise that they would bring steady jobs for so many local people,” recalls one former city official.
“The council granted planning permission, despite the objections from the public, for the same reason.
“The new development was seen to be a real feather in the cap of Milton Keynes.”
Today many workers are angry that Tesco’s stay is to end so abruptly.
“We’re told we can transfer to Daventry but many of us won’t be able to get there,” said one.
“There couldn’t be a more centrally located site than Milton Keynes. We feel Tesco has let us down.”
Unions are meeting employees today (Thursday) to discuss their fears.
Usdaw spokesman Joanne McGuiness said: “There are entire families affected by this decision and with five people already chasing every vacancy in the town, it really couldn’t have come at a worse time.”
Particularly upset are the 100 plus lorry drivers who were transferred by Tesco to Eddie Stobart just three months ago.
They too are now facing redundancy.
A Tesco spokesman said the Daventry site was larger and sited next to a rail freight facility, which will save the company 14 million road miles a year.
The decision to quit from such a flagship company has alarmed city business organisations which fear other companies may follow suit.