Staff queue up to leave Littlewoods

Volunteers will make up a 'high proportion' of the redundancies being meted out at Littlewoods' Liverpool headquarters.

The retailer, bought by the Barclay Brothers last year, is cutting 228 jobs across head office functions.

A spokesman said it was too early to quantify the number of staff accepting voluntary packages, as the process was ongoing, but the volume had been encouraging.

'We have received a lot of applications from staff wishing to leave on a voluntary basis,' he said. 'The target is 228 and the applications are in the process of being matched to the profiles of the jobs we need to lose.'

As part of the rationalisation programme, Littlewoods' 10-strong ethical trading team was axed. The retailer also surrendered its membership of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), which ensures suppliers observe international labour standards.

Littlewoods has said membership, which costs approximately£25,000, did not offer good value for money.

Christian Aid urged Littlewoods to reconsider its decision.

The charity has decided to offer the services of one of its ethical trade experts. 'We'd like Littlewoods to reconsider its decision to leave the ETI, but in the meantime we're happy to offer them a member of staff, free of charge, to shadow their next visit to a factory to check on labour standards,' said a spokesman.