The Hull Daily Mail has reported today that the Comet head office call centre is set to close with the loss of a further 284 jobs at the retailer. According to the newspaper the work will be transferred to the company's call centre in Clevedon, near Bristol.
Diana Johnson, MP for Hull North, said the job losses were yet another devastating blow to Hull's economy.
She said: "It is deeply disappointing to hear Comet will be closing its Hull call centre. It is particularly sad for the city as Comet was founded in Hull and was one of the city's most significant employers."
Staff at the centre have spoken to the Mail about their disgust after claiming they were this week tasked with training staff from Clevedon – staff, they say, will ultimately be taking over their jobs.
One worker, who did not wish to be named, said: "The whole thing stinks. This week, team leaders and line managers from Clevedon have been to Hull and we have been going through the process of showing them how things work and the processes we use – basically showing them how to do our jobs.
"This was before we were told the Hull call centre would definitely close but we all suspected this would happen a long time ago."
Comet launched a 90-day consultation into plans to merge its Hull and Clevedon call centres on February 23.
At the time, the company said it had not made a decision either way.But workers had hoped the company's strong Hull connections would save it. That consultation will end in May although employees said most workers eventually "saw what was coming" and have been looking for work.
As part of the deal, Kesa pumped £50 million into the struggling electricals chain and took on the firm's pension scheme.
Another worker, who did not wish to be named, said the company had turned its back on its loyal Hull workforce.
They said: "Staff are expected to remain loyal yet where is the help and support for people who have worked very hard for many years?
"The whole thing is causing a lot of upset across the Hull office."
Comet said its Business Centre in Hull, which employs about 160 staff, will remain open.
The company said it is also providing on-site support for workers to help them find new employment.
A spokesman said: "Following the proposal to move from two contact centres to one, Comet can confirm that, having carried out extensive research, the decision has been made to close the call centre in Hull and move the activity to our Clevedon base.
"In spite of this, we are pleased to say the company will be retaining the business-to-business and insurance team and so we still be a large scale of employer of just under 200 individuals in the Hull Business Centre."
The company declined to comment on workers' claims they have been tasked with training their Clevedon colleagues to do their jobs.
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