MORE than 25 staff left work at Menlo for the final time yesterday as Triumph’s first round of redundancies swept through their Groundwell base.

Distribution is being moved from Swindon to France by Triumph despite successful efforts to cut costs and improve efficiency by Menlo, the contractor currently responsible for distribution.

News broke on April 14 that the lingerie firm’s was to move its distribution operations from the warehouse it owns at the Groundwell Industrial Estate to its Obernai site in France.

As the first employees begin to depart the site for good, Unite’s Jim D’Avila has bemoaned the decision and what it means to those who have lived in Swindon for a long time.

The regional coordinating officer said: “It’s a sad day because Triumph International, for most who have been in Swindon for any length of time, has been a company that has been held in high esteem for the high-quality products that they make.

“Generally they pay very good, their terms and conditions for workers are fair and they’re incredibly efficient.

“People had to work hard there, but they got rewarded. Those workers are worth their weight in gold. To see those good, highly-skilled jobs go, especially when the vast majority are women, is incredibly sad.”

Eighty workers are being released from their posts, with enhanced redundancy packages, as a result of the decision to move operations to France.

Twenty-eight workers departed yesterday, with a further 36 due to leave in July, and a final 12 at the end of July.

Meanwhile, Mr D’Avila has said more workers are fleeing Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) in Highworth Road, even after the latest round of job cuts when 300 permanent staff moved on.

“Honda’s still losing staff,” he said. “Other companies know Honda are in difficulty and ex-directors working for other companies are headhunting the people they know there.

“There are good people at Honda and they are being tapped up by these other companies for interviews.

“I was there the other day when it was announced another five or six workers had handed in their notices.

“We have to work with Honda to help them retain that edge they had in manufacturing, because so many people in Swindon depend on it.”