Thousands of Tesco workers are facing changes to working patterns and possible redundancy as the supermarket giant announces a fresh wave of cuts to its store opening hours.
Workers at more than 700 stores, some of which are in Northern Ireland, are currently being informed of the supermarket’s plan to cut back on the number of its stores offering 24-hour opening.
More than 2,000 staff members are believed to be affected by the latest cut – and a 45-day consultation period will start this week.
Workers will find out their fate in November – weeks before the festive period. One worker, who asked not to be named, said: ‘They’ve told us they are eradicating the night shift in non-profitable stores. This will take effect across the 700-odd stores after the 45-day consultation period.
“They’ve said there will be job losses. People can, where jobs are available, reapply for their jobs but where no job is available, it’s redundancy.
“Many of us have families, and it’ll be a tough time of year, so what a nice Christmas present! It’s disgusting.”
Earlier this year, Tesco announced reduced opening hours at 20 stores. It has now said that it is bringing in the reduced hours at a further 30 stores.
From November, these stores will close at midnight and reopen at 6am. Another 149 stores will move from night-time replenishment to day-time replenishment.
Tesco said the plans would enable staff to refill shelves to boost the appearance of the stores in the daytime – and that job losses would be ‘minimal’ as staff would be transferred to day-time working.
Chief executive Dave Lewis – who is said to have earned the nickname “Cutthroat Dave” among workers – said he is trying to revive the supermarket’s brand.
Tony Hoggett, chief operating officer at Tesco, said: “We’re making some changes in a number of our stores to help us run them more simply and deliver the best possible service for customers. We understand this may be disruptive for some of our colleagues and where there have been changes to a colleague’s role we will be working really hard to ensure they are fully supported.”
Shopworkers’ union USDAW is aware of the plan. Pauline Foulkes, Usdaw national officer, said: ‘Following a business review Tesco are announcing various operational changes at stores around the country.
“Each store will have different changes to address its specific needs and some will be more substantial than others.
“A period of consultation with individual staff is now beginning and our priority is to minimise redundancies and help as many employees as possible transition to new suitable roles within the organisation.
“We are providing the advice, support and representation our members need throughout the consultation period.”
Earlier this week, high street giant M&S axed 525 jobs from its head office in a bid to cut costs, two months after its chief executive branded the performance of its clothing and home arm ‘unacceptable’ after like-for-like sales plummeted 8.9 per cent.