BOSSES of a giant distribution hub - which will become Europe’s largest when it opens its doors - have confirmed no zero-hour contracts will be enforced and employees will earn more than the minimum wage.
Hermes’ state-of-the-art Hoyland facility, dubbed ‘Colossus’, will cost around £60m and open in September next year on land off Sheffield Road near the M1.
Plans were given the go-ahead despite mass campaigning from local residents whose petition garnered more than 1,700 signatures to stop the Hoyland West masterplan framework - which also includes the building of thousands of homes.
However, Hermes revealed they are recruiting 1,400 full-time jobs at the new distribution hub - which will be capable of processing 1.3 million parcels per day - and each employee will be paid more than the minimum wage.
The response comes after campaigners claimed the delivery giant - which will become one of the borough’s largest employers - would rely on zero-hour, low-paid contracts.
A spokesperson for Hermes said: “There’ll be a wide range of jobs available, including a general manager, operations managers, health and safety officers, engineers, administrative and transport roles.
“We guarantee that every single employee will earn more than the minimum wage, and we never use zero-hour contracts - all of our parcel people are on contracts with dedicated hours and benefits.
“We’re looking to work with local schools and have begun conversations to explore how we can offer support over the coming months and years.
“This will involve education around road safety.
“We’re also keen to safely provide local schools with equipment and material from the construction site, so pupils can build mud kitchens and insect hotels.”
Hermes’ arrival will generate £41m in investment via a 20-year lease commitment at the site, according to Barnsley Council.
A total of 607 new car parking spaces, 43 disability spaces, 33 motorcycle spaces and 60 cycle spaces are also included in the plan, which has been mired in controversy.
Campaigners from Extinction Rebellion and REACH have been battling against the 340,000sq ft warehouse since plans broke cover last year.
The controversial local plan - which includes the Hoyland site - was adopted by full council at the beginning of 2019, and identified areas for future development.
Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said: “We understand that people have strong feelings around decisions to develop some areas of the borough.
“Our local plan was adopted following public consultation and examination by an independent planning inspector and approved in January 2019.
“This was scrutinised in detail by the Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State to assess our plan.
“Following a two-year public examination, it was agreed that allocating some land within the green belt was required.
“Since that time, we have led detailed consultation on all masterplans for Barnsley to make sure we can work with developers to get the best outcomes for residents.
“We’ve been honest that we must develop some areas of the borough to meet the growing need for better housing and more jobs, supporting our plans up to 2030.
“We understand the initial impact on residents and will be working with developers to shape these sites to fit in within our local landscapes and countryside.”