MOTHERWELL is set to lose 200 jobs with Lloyds Banking Group announcing the closure of the contact centre in Airbles Road.
All workers will be offered a transfer to the firm’s facility at Atlantic Quay in Glasgow, but local politicians have hit out at the inconveneience this will cause for local people, many of whom only work four-hour shifts.
Motherwell and Wishaw MP Frank Roy called for a debate in the House of Commons on how banking groups treat their customers and employees, however the Leader of the House Andrew Lansley told him it was more appropriate for ‘Back-Bench time’.
Mr Roy said: “This was a bombshell for the 200 local staff who work at the call centre, to be told your job is moving to Glasgow was a huge shock for many.
“Having met with Lloyds there are still a large number of questions that need to be answered and I intend to pursue this matter further. I have already been contacted by many staff who are extremely concerned about their jobs.“
Lloyds aim to have moved their Motherwell operation to Glasgow by September 2013 and Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland wants a change of heart.
He said: “How do we overturn this decision because my first impression is that Lloyds care for the local community has been completely overlooked?
“The top priority is the staff, to have to travel to Glasgow will prove impossible for some and we will having further meetings with both Lloyds and the unions in the near future.”
Lloyds say they will offer temporary help for some employees to get to their new place of work.
A spokesman said: “Following a review of our telephone banking structure and property arrangements we have taken the decision to close our Motherwell contact centre by the end of September 2013.
“All staff will be offered a new role in our Atlantic Quay contact centre in Glasgow.
“Colleagues whose journey time will increase by either 10 miles or 30 minutes each way will be eligible for a travel allowance for 12 months from the date of transfer.”
Motherwell West councillor Paul Kelly says it is another devastating blow for the constitiuency coming after the proposed Sainsbury’s store which promised to create 300 jobs was knocked back.
He said: “This is a disgraceful decision by Lloyds and a huge blow to our local area. I strongly hope they will re-consider and listen to the concerns of their employees.
“I have been contacted by many local residents who work here and who have serious concerns about their jobs and the fact they will unable to travel to Glasgow.
“I would ask Lloyds to consider the thousands of local customers they have in Motherwell and Lanarkshire. How will they feel about this decision to abandon our area?
“I will do all I can to oppose this.”
Ged Nichols of the Accord union, which represents Lloyds workers, say this has been on the cards for a long time.
He said: “When HBOS was taken over by Lloyds in January 2009 people were predicting a jobs massacre. It was inevitable that the bank would look at closing sites and Motherwell is a victim of that.
“The good news is there are no redundancies and there is a job in Glasgow for everyone who wants it.
“The union has negotiated travel expenses, but I appreciate relocating might not be suitable for all and will work towards either redeployment or a fair redundancy package.
“I appreciate this is not a good story for Motherwell, but in the context it could have been a lot worse.”