JCB eyes Castle Donington move as 200 warehouse workers face uncertain future

Photo of The current JCB World Logistics site
The current JCB World Logistics site -Credit:Stoke Sentinel

Digger giant JCB looks set to move operations to the East Midlands. Hundreds of warehouse workers at the company's World Logistics site in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, face an uncertain future after JCB looks set to close the warehouse.

New documents seen by Stoke on Trent Live suggest the firm is planning to cross over into the East Midlands and set up base in Castle Donington, Leicestershire. The Stoke-on-Trent site currently employs hundreds of staff.

The move, which would see them based at the SEGRO East Midlands Gateway logistics park, close to East Midlands Airport, would be a move of 49 miles. Many of the Tunstall-based staff now face an uncertain future.

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According to documents, JCB intends to 'exit' its current site by early 2025 ahead of a move to Leicestershire. Logistics giant Maersk intends to maintain an office 'within the Stoke-on-Trent area' after the move.

However, the future remains uncertain for up to 200 warehouse and transport workers who must now decide whether to commute from the West Midlands to the East Midlands in a bid to keep their jobs.

News of the Tunstall closure and move to Castle Donington was made to staff in briefings this week. One worker told StokeonTrentLive: "The workers have been told their jobs will effectively be gone by the end of the year. The operation is being moved to a site near East Midlands Airport. The closure will affect around 150 to 200 shop-floor workers. Office workers will be somewhat protected."

A second said: "We've all lost our jobs. Everyone is gutted."

Maersk is the lead logistics provider for the Tunstall warehouse. The site has been open for a decade and its staff worked for DHL before being transferred to Unipart. The affected warehouse workers will now transfer to Maersk - with transport staff staying with Unipart. Both groups will be subject to consultations ahead of the move.

The Unipart briefing note shared with StokeonTrentLive said: "JCB has worked closely with Maersk to review its long-term logistics strategy. As I am sure you are aware, the World Logistics site has been at full capacity for some time and a decision has been taken that the site is no longer fit for purpose for JCB's long-term business strategy. This is a strategic business decision by JCB and in no way a reflection of the huge commitment, passion and hard work of this team."

JCB says its warehouse has been at 'full capacity for five years'. A spokesman added: "The JCB World Logistics facility was commissioned in 2014 as the company’s main central logistics hub. Since then, the number of machines manufactured by JCB has almost doubled and the facility has been at full capacity for the past five years.

" Today it can only store 50 per cent of JCB inbound container freight prior to distribution to the company’s UK factories. This has forced JCB to introduce multiple locations for parts storage, which is not sustainable in the long term.

"As a result, a larger facility is essential and a decision has been made to exit the JCB World Logistics warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent by early 2025 and transfer operations to a much larger single location at the East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park. This will consolidate multiple warehouse locations into one larger site and provide much needed capacity to support JCB’s future growth plans."

The spokesperson added that JCB World Logistics are now "working closely" with employees to discuss their future. Discussions are also taking place with the GMB Union over "redeployment opportunities" for affected staff.