Tesco staff at the doomed Barlborough Distribution Centre were asked to dress up in superhero costumes and pose for a dance video to the funk anthem Oops Upside Your Head.
The centre, on Gander Lane, is closing in September with the potential loss of 400 jobs as part of distribution restructuring with centre closures and a transfer option with new jobs at Reading and Dagenham.
But after Tesco distribution director Steve Strachota described closures on Twitter as “Awesome teamwork” and a notice at Barlborough left staff fearing they could lose redundancy packages if they left early - the company then urged staff to take part in a video to the Gap Band’s 70s’ hit Oops Upside Your Head.
A relative of one employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I don’t know whether it was supposed to be a morale-booster or a bad joke but to ask people who are about to lose jobs to dance to video is offensive, obscene, insensitive and bizarre.
“They put pressure on staff and they no doubt felt obliged because they did not want to lose redundancies or damage prospects.
“Tesco shouldn’t faff with fancy dress and dances with jobs at stake.”
Staff were urged to take part in a charity fancy dress day and later perform for the video.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We do appreciate that it’s a difficult time for colleagues at the Chesterfield distribution centre. The idea came from colleagues at Barlborough, whose intention was only to do something that the team would enjoy, and participation was entirely voluntary. It was certainly never meant to cause any offense, and we are very sorry if it has.”
Tesco stated no one was pressured, it was sorry for any upset and there are no plans to show the video.
Tesco previously stated the Tweet intended to acknowledge a tough decision and it is helping staff to find jobs.