SITE FOR SORE EYES Fidelity's offices provide work for 650 local people

ALL 650 employees of Fidelity in Hildenborough will be entitled to keep their jobs when it moves the branch to Surrey in 2020, the Times has been told.

The investment and pensions company revealed on November 21 that it will move its Tonbridge office 25 miles round the M25.

The company’s press release stated: “It plans to relocate the majority of employees and roles to its existing Kingswood site.”

A consultation process with staff will begin in January and there are fears that many will not be able to make the move.

A spokesperson told the Times last week: “We have said all employees will be able to follow their roles to Kingswood.”

She said that the Times’ report that ‘there are likely to be significant job losses’ was ‘factually incorrect’ and ‘might be construed as inflammatory’ and asked for it to be removed.

Fidelity issued a clarification which stated: “This is a relocation plan, employees will be given the chance to follow their roles and relocate to the Kingswood office.

“We fully anticipate that most roles and people will move from Tonbridge to Kingswood and we will be discussing this with our employees from January 2018 in more detail.

“As already stated, it is our clear intention and also our strong desire that the majority of people who work in Tonbridge in Kent will come with us to Kingswood in Surrey and continue with their roles in a different location.”

Meanwhile the Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Nicolas Heslop, described the move as ‘a huge shock and clearly an enormous worry for those affected’.

He said: “I have spoken at length with Peter Horrell, Managing Director UK at Fidelity International, to understand how the firm will support staff, but also offer any assistance that the Borough Council can provide.

“Clearly staff will be feeling worried and vulnerable. Fidelity is a valued local employer to 650 staff.”

He added: “We will of course work with them to minimise the impact of their intended relocation, offer support and guidance to affected members of staff and in due course consider the future of the site.”