By Caitlin Morrison
Tesco has announced plans to cut up to 9,000 jobs in a simplification plan aimed at cutting costs.
Over the weekend, reports emerged that the supermarket was planning to axe 15,000 roles, and the company faced criticism from unions over the lack of detail provided
Tesco, which employs more than 300,000 people in the UK, said “up to half” of the staff affected by the cuts “could be redeployed to other customer-facing roles”. Senior management roles are also set to go, with the company planning to move to “a simpler and leaner structure”.
The company said it will change the way it manages stock, which will “mean a significantly reduced workload, with fewer hours needed to complete the routines”.
Hours will also be reduced in merchandising, with plans to cut the number of layout changes made in stores.
The group will also close meat, fish and deli counters at “around 90 stores”, but there are no plans to make any significant changes to bakeries in 2019, despite reports to the contrary, the firm said.
Meanwhile, staff canteens will be replaced with self-service kitchens due to “reduced demand”. Some of the job losses are linked to the canteen closures.
“Media speculation over the weekend was premature and we have accelerated our communications to colleagues in order to reduce the significant uncertainty created by incorrect information,” Tesco said in a statement.
“We will be doing all we can to help colleagues affected by these changes, including offering redeployment opportunities wherever possible.”
Jason Tarry, Tesco’s chief executive for UK and Ireland, said: “In our four years of turnaround we’ve made good progress, but the market is challenging and we need to continually adapt to remain competitive and respond to how customers want to shop.
“We’re making changes to our UK stores and head office to simplify what we do and how we do it, so we’re better able to meet the needs of our customers. This will impact some of our colleagues and our commitment is to minimise this as much as possible and support our colleagues throughout.”
Pauline Foulkes, Usdaw’s national officer, said: “Staff at Tesco are shocked and dismayed by the scale of yet another round of potential job losses, which clearly demonstrates the pressure retailers are under in the current very difficult and uncertain economic climate, as the cost cutting continues.
“With the British Retail Consortium estimating that there were 70,000 job losses across the retail sector last year, we need an industrial strategy lead by the government, working with Usdaw and retailers to tackle the crisis on our high streets.
“This is devastating news for staff, who have played a crucial role in Tesco’s turnaround project, contributing to 12 successive quarters of growth, solid Christmas trading and over a billion pounds of profit. We will enter into consultation talks with Tesco, where we will examine the business case for their proposed changes.”
Shares in Tesco were down 2.58 per cent by mid-afternoon on Monday.