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MP speaks out as more jobs are lost
9:40am Monday 11th March 2013 in News
WORCESTER MP Robin Walker has spoken of his anguish over more job losses in the city – and wants the Government to come up with ideas to boost ailing retailers.
The move came after travel agent Thomas Cook confirmed it was to scrap 2,500 jobs, leading to fears over workers at the city’s Friary Walk and High Street branches.
Both companies say the internet has had an effect on their businesses, with more and more customers opting to go online.
Mr Walker said: “It is very disappointing and clearly, my immediate focus will be on making sure we help people in Worcester suffering at this difficult time.
“There is a recognition that retail is experiencing very tough times and some major structural changes, and we need to work out how we can get through that.
“It’s a terrible thing when jobs are lost. My belief is that this whole situation is very much related to the move of business to the internet.
“It’s a huge challenge when shifts like this take place, but I would urge the Government to look at it urgently and see what can be done, policy-wise, to help.”
Mr Walker, who also sits on the watchdog-style business, innovation and skills select committee, has secured an inquiry into the retail sector, starting next month.
He says he has already asked Thomas Cook bosses to attend to see if “any lessons can be learned” from the company’s crisis.
“The internet is not affecting everyone equally,” he said. “John Lewis and Tesco, for example, have their retail very well worked out.
“Some businesses manage to use the internet to strengthen their high street presence, not weaken it, and that’s what we need to look at.”
The job losses at the Shop Direct call centre are subject to a 90-day consultation period.
Serco, which owns the business, say it is hoping to transfer as many workers as possible into alternative employment within the company.