METRO Mayor Andy Burnham will join demonstrators protesting against controversial proposals to shut a flagship call centre in Bury.

Mr Burnham will be at Capita Contact Centre in Dumers Lane tomorrow supporting a campaign by Communication Workers Union (CWU) to keep jobs in the town.

The centre, which serves as a call centre for Tesco Mobile, has existed for over two decades and is said to be a vital local employer.

Under plans Capita wants to move its Bury-based workforce to its Preston Brook site, with 25 per cent allowed to work from home.

Mr Burnham said: "Tomorrow, I will be joining key workers from the Bury Capita Contact Centre, who are demonstrating against the decision to move and close the Tesco Mobile operation in Bury.

"The staff impacted by this decision have built Tesco Mobile from the ground up. Throughout the pandemic, these people worked tirelessly to keep Britain connected.

"Their 'reward' has been a company decision to move them to a different call centre, in Runcorn, with an unmanageable journey and all of the extra expenses and time that this involves.

"This has left many of these workers with little other options but to leave a job they've loved - in some cases, for two decades.

"This would be a massive loss to the local economy and a huge blow for the employees.

"I would urge Capita and Tesco Mobile to work constructively with the CWU, the local council and myself to find a solution that benefits Tesco Mobile, the employees and the company, and which keeps the jobs in Bury."

CWU is calling on the outsourcing giant to allow employees to continue their role in a work from home capacity at current levels or look at alternative sites in Bury so the workforce can stay local and not face a potential 70 mile round trip.

CWU North West Regional Secretary Carl Webb added: “We’re delighted to have Andy’s support on this campaign.

“To treat key workers like this, after well over a year of working through a global crisis, is astonishing.

“The CWU will stand firmly behind our members until a better proposal than what is currently being offered can be found.”

Capita say it has made the 'difficult' decision to close its Bury site and say 'constructive' conversations are taking place.

In March boss of Capita said call centres operated by the business will no longer need to be based in a single location and expects more to be run by staff working from home.

Jon Lewis, Capita’s chief executive, added that the company is moving towards a hybrid work model, with internal surveys revealing 72 per cent of his staff would prefer to work up to three days a week from home.

Capita told 35,000 out of 55,000 employees they will now be able to work from home most of the time if they wish.