Shop Direct has launched a search for five £80,000-a-year bosses – just days after cutting 900 call centre jobs on Wearside.
Axed workers today spoke of their anger at the move, which follows the firm’s announcement that it plans to close its former Littlewoods call centre in Commercial Road, Hendon.
It blamed a sharp rise in the number of people shopping online for its decision to close three centres nationwide, with a loss of about 1,500 jobs.
However, it has now followed that up by advertising for five department heads, each paid £80,000-a-year.
Shop Direct workers hit by the closure plans are furious at the move.
Craig Smith, 24, who has a one-year-old son called Max, said: “Their wages are being offset by getting rid of us.
“For one £80,000 job, that is five advisers salaries. For those five jobs that’s 25 advisers they’re getting rid of to pay for it. I’ll be taking this up with the union.”
Neil Fraser, 23, added: “I wasn’t aware that they were doing that… It seems a bit ridiculous.”
Today, Shop Direct claimed that the five positions were vital to meet the company’s “growing demand” in financial services.
A spokeswoman said: “We are advertising a number of roles within our financial services business.
“We have to build our financial services business in order to offer credit products to our customers that will meet this growing demand.”
After the decision on January 28, which also affected sites in Burnley, Oldham and North Wales, Shop Direct entered a 90-day consultation with staff over the closures.
Sunderland Council, regional development agency One NorthEast and other organisations are also joining forces to help staff hit by the announcement to find new jobs.
A special group set up to help met in the city for the first time on Friday.
A number of contact centre companies have been in touch with the council since news of Shop Direct’s plans broke at the end of last week.
Shop Direct, which provides customer services for brands including Littlewoods, Woolworths.co.uk, Great Universal, Kays and Choice, blamed the rise of Internet shopping for a collapse in work for its call centres.
Four years ago, the firm was fielding 33million calls a year. Today, that is down to 19million. Over Christmas, 85 per cent of its business was handled online.
Taken from Sunderland Echo