They launched a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal, but it was voted down by creditors. The company is now placing the business in administration and there will be a sale process to find a purchaser for all or some of the stores.
John Gorle - Usdaw National Officer says: “This is a very disappointing result, which creates a great deal of uncertainty for staff. It appears that a small number of landlords have managed to narrowly block the CVA and we have to question their motives. This vote has put the livelihoods of hundreds of shopworkers on the line, when it appears there was an opportunity, with the support of the property owners, to keep the business afloat with 10 store closures.
"I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the administrator, when one has been appointed. Usdaw's priorities are to save jobs and keep stores open. We are talking to the Co-op about possible redeployment opportunities for any affected employees and we will explore all avenues to help members seek alternative employment.
“In the meantime our team of Usdaw reps and officials are providing the support, advice and representation members need at this very worrying time.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 440,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
Locations of stores at risk: Aberystwyth, Basingstoke, Birmingham, Blackburn, Buckley, Cardigan, Christchurch, Crewkerne, Dagenham, Erith, Gillingham, Greenwich - London, Helston, Littlehampton, Ludlow, Monmouth, Newport, Norwich, Nottingham, Paisley, Plumstead - London, Prestwick, Rochford, Shaftesbury, Sheffield, South Benfleet, Southall - London, St. Neots, Sydenham - London, Tiverton, Totnes, Walsall, Watton, Weymouth, Wirral, Wisbech.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion