A trade union has warned of job losses at the logistics partner of House of Fraser following the retailer’s collapse.
The GMB claimed 627 jobs have been slashed at freight and warehousing company XPO Logistics after House of Fraser was bought out of administration by Sports Direct.
The union said workers at XPO warehouses in Milton Keynes and Wellingborough were put on a 45-day consultation period from last Friday.
XPO is owed more than £30m by House of Fraser, according to a document released by administrators EY. But under the terms of the administration, Sports Direct is not obliged to pay the near £1bn worth of debts owed to House of Fraser creditors at the time of the collapse.
XPO refused to confirm the job cuts, but said in any instance of job losses they would always try to place workers in nearby warehouses.
Sports Direct, which bought House of Fraser for £90m, also refused to comment, saying talks were ongoing.
Alan Costello, GMB organiser, questioned the motives of Ashley in buying House of Fraser, and called the job losses “a massive blow” to the workers “who have been left in limbo”.
“When companies like House of Fraser crash, history shows that asset stripping is often the consequence,” he said.
“You’ve got to question the motives for this buyout and ask whether Mr Ashley has got the interests of the company and its workers at heart.
“There are more than 600 people desperately worrying about their futures and how they’re going to be able to put food on the table for their families.”
Costello urged Ashley to demonstrate that the buyout was not just “a plan to boost his bank balance at the expense of House of Fraser workers”.
“GMB will be fighting hard to ensure members are treated fairly and to save as many jobs as possible,” he said.