Sainsbury’s is shaking up management and will see hundreds of "store trainers" made redundant.
As part of a programme introduced in November 2014, which aimed to save £500m over three years, the big four grocer will be eliminating the role of "store trainer", which is currently held by 870 employees across the supermarket chain's estate. The role will be replaced with new “learning and development manager” positions, of which there will be 280, each responsible for multiple outlets rather than just one.
Although Sainsbury’s will be encouraging senior staff to apply for these new positions, around 590 will still face redundancy as a result of the changes.
“This is very bad news for those dedicated workers affected by the planned job losses and Unite will be giving our members maximum support at this difficult time,” said National Officer for Food and Drink at Unite, Julia Long.
“We are severely disappointed as Sainsbury’s seems to have deep pockets when it wants as it has just forked out £1.4bn to purchase the Home Retail Group.”
It was confirmed on Friday that the Home Retail Group board of directors had agreed to recommend Sainsbury’s’ bid to shareholders. Additionally, the most recent Kantar Worldpanel data showed that Sainsbury’s was the only member of the Big Four to have increased its sales in the 12 weeks to 27 March.
In response, Sainsbury’s pointed out that the change was a result of its long term programme and was unrelated to the HRG deal, which must still be finalised.
“We’ve introduced new learning and development programmes to ensure our colleagues can continue to deliver the very best service to our customers,” a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said.
“Following this we’re now creating a new management role that will provide enhanced training support across a number of stores. This position will replace the existing store trainer role.
We appreciate that Sainsbury’s has a good record of redeployment of staff in these situations and we will be exploring every avenue to ensure continuing employment for our members,” Long continued.
“We are now entering the 45-day consultation period and will be having meetings with management.”
Sainsbury's has also been consulting about discontinuing night shifts in favour of early morning and evening shifts in certain stores, in order to improve customer service.
"All colleagues who currently work on the night shift are being offered a number of redeployment options," added the spokesperson.