SPECIAL REPORT: Hundreds of jobs set to go – but Chesterfield is a ‘town of growth’

Colin Walker, senior Unite steward and database administrator, outside the offices at CSC in protest against possible redundancies. Picture: Mark Fear.
Colin Walker, senior Unite steward and database administrator, outside the offices at CSC in protest against possible redundancies. Picture: Mark Fear.
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Hundreds of workers are facing an uncertain future as another major Chesterfield firm announced plans to cut jobs.

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) intends to axe a total of 1,100 roles across seven locations in the UK – including possibly at its site on Old Road in Brampton.

The protest outside the CSC offices. Picture: Mark Fear.

The protest outside the CSC offices. Picture: Mark Fear.

The news emerged this week after a month which saw the Derbyshire Times report:

The closure of Tesco’s distribution centre in Barlborough, resulting in 207 job losses by June

Plans by Honeywell Process Solutions to shut the Bryan Donkin site in Holmewood with 66 positions at risk

• The collapse of Formal Affair and the Beetwell Street Yeomans, leading to more than five job losses

We recognise that any business closing will be distressing for people who are at risk of losing their jobs

Councillor Tricia Gilby

However, Chesterfield Borough Council expects more than 2,400 jobs to be created in the borough over the next few years thanks to major developments.

CSC in the UK was founded in 1967 and supplies IT infrastructure to major suppliers including the NHS.

Only last month the firm announced an initial 499 redundancies.

Workers staged a protest outside the Chesterfield offices on Tuesday.

Ed Parr, database architect at CSC, stands in the line with no shoes on in protest against the possible redundancies. Picture: Mark Fear.

Ed Parr, database architect at CSC, stands in the line with no shoes on in protest against the possible redundancies. Picture: Mark Fear.

Karl Barton, Unite branch secretary, said: “Almost a third of all staff are under immediate threat of losing their jobs.

“Such drastic reductions will no doubt impact the already pressured NHS.

“The union is considering balloting its members for industrial action.”

A CSC spokesman said: “In order to align skills and resources to the demands of the market, we are continuing to restructure parts of our UK organisation.

“As a result, we have identified a number of roles that potentially will be removed from the business. We have opened a voluntary redundancy programme in some areas of our business and there will also be opportunities for employees to reskill, with the potential of joining other areas of CSC’s UK business.”

Councillor Tricia Gilby, the borough council’s cabinet member for economic growth, stressed that help is at hand for those affected by the slew of redundancy announcements.

She said: “We recognise that any business closing will be distressing for people who are at risk of losing their jobs.

“We work closely with partners including Jobcentre Plus to help find other employment opportunities and skills training to give people the best chance in finding another job.

“Although our role is limited where private companies are concerned, we meet regularly with local business leaders and will do our best to put them in touch with fellow business owners who may be able to offer redeployment opportunities for displaced staff.

“We have a good track record of working to bring investment into the area.

“Over the next few years, we expect more than 2,400 jobs to be created in the borough.

“As part of the Northern Gateway development, we will be building a new enterprise centre on the site of Holywell Cross car park for start-up businesses and to encourage existing small and medium sized businesses to grow and create job opportunities for local people.”

Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield, added: “It’s sad to learn of any business closures and redundancies in the area – however it must not overshadow the fact that Chesterfield is a town of growth and opportunity.

“Thanks to Chesterfield’s central location, transport links and skilled workforce, the town is making, and has made, significant progress in attracting investment since 2011.

“Looking forward, a further 800 jobs are expected to be created at Markham Vale by the logistics and distribution companies located there.

“Additionally, four key regeneration sites – Walton Works, Chesterfield Waterside, Northern Gateway and Peak Resort – are all making progress and will create jobs and opportunity for local people.”

Scott Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said it is ‘never nice to hear about redundancies’.

“But sometimes businesses have to make hard decisions to ensure survival or longer-term success,” he added.

“Sometimes, the loss of a percentage of a workforce can mean that remaining jobs in a company are safeguarded, in which case you have to take the pragmatic view that if the business is saved and can restore its viability then there is always a chance that lost jobs could be recreated sometime in the future.

“Obviously that’s not the case when a business closes. Nobody pours their heart and soul into developing a business with the intention of closing it so if that happens then something has gone seriously wrong.”