News : Jobs Under Threat at Betfred
Wigan, UK, Oct 14, 2015 -- More than 100 jobs are under threat as one of Wigan’s biggest employers looks to wield the axe.
Stunned staff of bookmaking provider Betfred were told in a company announcement last night that bosses want to close the national call centre in the town centre.
A council chief today described it as a "body blow to Wigan."
The decision came four years after the Warrington-based company owned by Fred Done bought the former state-owned Tote, based at Chapel Lane in Wigan.
The company stresses that nothing is yet set in stone as 45-day consultation period involving employees and their union representatives gets under way.
But yesterday’s announcement signalled that the call centre arm of the complex at Tote Park was no longer worth keeping open because so much custom has moved to online betting in recent years.
If the plan is executed, then 14 full-time and 98 part-time posts would be lost, although the company says that, given the size of the overall enterprise, it would hope that at least some of those former call centre workers could be re-deployed elsewhere.
It also points out that other Wigan-based operations which together employ a further 150 people - including IT, project managers and the Tote pool transmission department.
Betfred chief executive John Haddock said: "We are entering into a period of consultation with staff in our call centre based in Wigan and consequently 14 full-time and 98 part-time jobs are at risk.
"Unfortunately the call centre at the moment is no longer viable, especially with the significant shift towards mobile and digital betting.
"In the event of closure we would endeavour to redeploy a number of our staff across the Betfred Group."
The news came as latest Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant count figures show that a greater percentage of Wigan folk are now in work than since such records began.
On being told of the Betfred announcement, Wigan Council’s deputy leader and regeneration portfolio holder Coun David Molyneux said: "This is a body blow to Wigan. When Betfred bought the Tote many compliments were paid to the call centre and it is very disappointing that the company feels that it is no longer viable.
"I will be getting our people from the council’s Business Unit to liaise with Betfred to see if there is anything that can be done to assist, especially in terms of retaining and/or redeploying as many people as they can.
"There is never a good time to lose a job but it is especially difficult in the run-up to Christmas."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Betfred is a United Kingdom-based bookmaker, named after its co-founders Fred and Peter Done. It was first established as a single shop in Ordsall, Salford, in 1967.
Published: Thursday, October 15, 2015