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Last Updated: Monday, 20 March 2006, 17:47 GMT
Council critical of Tesco meeting
Tesco trolleys
Tesco is moving the distribution operation to Livingston
Dundee's council leader has called for a meeting with the board of Tesco over plans to close its distribution depot in the city.

The council met two representatives from the supermarket chain on Monday afternoon but afterwards said they had been unable to answer their questions.

Council leader Jill Shimi said the issue now needed to be taken to a higher level within Tesco.

Tesco corporate affairs manager Nick Gellatly said the meeting was useful.

More than 400 jobs will be lost in the city after Tesco decided to build a new distribution depot in Livingston, creating more than a thousand jobs in West Lothian.

'Higher level'

Ms Shimi said Mr Gellatly and another Tesco representative were "clearly unable" to answer the questions they were asked.

She said: "They have done no cost benefit analysis regarding this relocation and we feel that we really need another meeting with Tesco but this time we need to meet with members the board of Tesco.

"We definitely need to take this to a higher level."

Ms Shimi said it was very disappointing that the council was not in the position to speak to "decision makers", adding: "We feel we have to challenge the assumptions on which this decision was based.

Our job now for Dundee is to make it as easy as possible for staff to consider their options
Richard Anderson
Tesco spokesman

"We have made it clear that there are sites that are acceptable in Dundee. We're very keen to show them that we can beat, if not match, what's on offer in Livingtson."

Tesco spokesman Richard Anderson said the new facility in Livingston would better serve Tesco's Scottish stores, half of which are located in the central belt.

He stressed that land availability was not the overriding reason for the decision to close the Dundee depot, but added: "We did look at the existing Dundee site and, yes, it is landlocked. There isn't scope to extend that."

Mr Anderson said: "At the moment the decision has been taken to move to Livingston.

"Our job now for Dundee is to make it as easy as possible for staff to consider their options."

Tesco took over the Dundee depot in the early 1990s when it bought the Scottish supermarket group William Low.

'Attractive' relocation package

Mr Anderson said a proportion of jobs at the new Livingston depot would be different from the one in Dundee and, as a result, some would bring new terms and conditions.

But he added: "There would still be pensions, shares and all the normal Tesco benefits.

"We'll make sure that a relocation package is very attractive and very fair."

Despite criticism of the decision in Dundee, the move to build the 75m distribution depot and create 1,400 jobs in West Lothian has been welcomed by the council there as a major boost to the local economy.

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