DRIVERS have described their disgust after managers broke the news their bus depot was closing by placing letters on tables - before going home.

Workers at Go North East's depot in Chester-le-Street hit out at the way they were informed after finishing their shift to see letters "dropped" on the canteen table.

The letter, which was from outgoing managing director Martijn Gilbert, said there were financial challenges and that a restructuring process would need to take place.

Read more: Go North East confirms plan to close bus depot in Chester-le-Street

It appeared to blame this financial impact on the pandemic, changes to the economy, and a recent pay claim from the union amid increases in the cost of living.

The Northern Echo: Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTPicture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Meanwhile, it suggested that the depot building on Picktree Lane in the town is in a poor condition and would require substantial investment.

But on Wednesday, workers said they had been left disgusted as some reportedly broke down in tears upon reading the letter Tuesday afternoon.

One worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "Everyone is absolutely disgusted at how it’s been announced.

"The management placed printed copies of the letter on the tables in the canteen and made a swift exit for home, there was no support from them at all.

Read more: Full list every Go North East route in County Durham being scrapped

"They could have made the effort to come down themselves and tell us in person, it just shows what they think and people who have devoted their lives here for years."

Under the plans, Go North East intends to ask drivers to relocate to neighbouring depots including Consett, Gateshead, Sunderland and Washington.

However, the worker said that those who can not relocate due to personal circumstances and location would be left with no other option but to quit.

They added: "A big part of it is how are we going to get to other depots, many don't have cars as they live locally.

"People are understandably upset, especially at the uncertainty of what’s going to happen next."

Another worker added that they had been left "heartbroken" after the announcement.

In a further letter to staff, the company confirmed it plans to close the depot on July 24, once workers and local services have been transferred.

The Northern Echo: Picture: CONTRIBUTORPicture: CONTRIBUTOR

'It is not a proper way to treat long-serving employees'

Last night, Labour MP Kevan Jones criticised Go North East's approach as he said he would be writing a letter to the company's Managing Director "urgently" on the decision.

The North Durham MP said: "This is obviously of great concern and comes completely out of the blue, it just shows the arrogant and dismissive attitude Go Northern has in terms of consulting its staff and the whole community.

"It is not a proper way to treat long-serving employees. I will be writing today demanding an urgent meeting.

"This will have a wider economic impact on Chester-le-Street, taking hundreds of staff out of the town especially at a critical time, especially when the town is struggling to recover from the effects of Covid."

What Go North East has said

In response to the latest concerns, a spokesperson for Go North East said: "Yesterday we commenced a consultation process with colleague representatives, followed by a communication to all colleagues to advise them that this is now underway.

"It is right and proper that our colleagues are informed first. Following this we have communicated with stakeholders such as the Local Authority and MP. 

"There is a process to follow for proposed changes such as this, which is now underway. At no time have any colleagues affected by yesterday's announcement been told they will be “forced out” and will have to take redundancy."


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054