Halfon slams “callous tweet” by Tesco boss

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has criticised a tweet by a senior Tesco manager who said shutting five depots was an example of “awesome teamwork”.

Tesco is restructuring its distribution centres with the transfer of 2,000 posts in Essex, Surrey and Derbyshire.

Mr Halfon said the Twitter remark by Tesco distribution director Steve Strachota was “seemingly celebrating” the depot closures.

Tesco has apologised for any offence the comment had caused.

The depots facing closure are in Harlow, in Essex, which has 800 staff, Barlborough, near Chesterfield, where 400 people work and Weybridge, in Surrey, which has 650 staff.

Tesco said Mr Strachota was not available to comment on his tweet.

Instead, the retailer issued a statement, which said: “This tweet was intended to acknowledge that difficult decisions had been taken in order to make significant changes to our distribution network.

“Steve has spoken to our colleagues at Harlow in person to explain this and they recognised that it should be seen in that context.”

But Mr Halfon, a Conservative, said he was “really disturbed” to see the message – now deleted – which had been forwarded to him by a number of Tesco workers.

In a letter to Tesco, Mr Halfon said: “It seems to me that, given what has happened in Harlow, and the upset it caused to many people, your senior managers appear to be wallowing in what they have done.

“I find it very sad that a company that I have had huge respect for seems to be so callous in their treatment of workers, many of whom have given over 20 years of service to Tesco.”

Mr Halfon has also tabled an Early Day Motion on the issue which has called on the House of Commons to voice disappointment at Tesco’s “treatment” of affected staff.

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