PRIME Minister Theresa May has agreed to ask her business secretary Greg Clark to meet a delegation led by Greater Manchester metro mayor Andy Burnham over the looming loss of nearly 2,000 jobs at Shop Direct.

Responding in the House of Commons today to a question by Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams, Mrs May acknowledged that now is “a time of great concern” for workers at the online retailer which has distribution centres in Shaw, Chadderton and at Little Hulton in Salford.

Clark will now meet with Mr Burnham, Ms Abrahams, Oldham West and Royton MP Jim McMahon, Oldham Council leader Jean Stretton and several Usdaw union officials.

“There was no prior warning or discussions with staff, unions, the council or myself,” she said at Prime Minister’s Question Time.

“Given that this is about the ascendance of automation, what specific measures is the Government putting in places to support my constituents and will the Prime Minister meet with me and colleagues to discuss this; and what she is doing to mitigate against the negative impacts of automation on the Labour Market more generally?”