// Tesco to cut around 4500 staff in fresh round of redundancies
// Most of the jobs in the firing line are from Tesco’s mid-size Metro stores
// Tesco’s latest round of job cuts follows news in January that 9000 jobs were to be reviewed
Tesco has announced 4500 jobs cuts as it seeks to simplify operations at its Metro stores.
While most of the jobs in the firing line will be cut from 153 mid-size Tesco Metro stores, the latest round of redundancies will also target jobs at smaller Tesco Express stores and the larger superstores.
Tesco workforce stands at over 300,000 and the Big 4 retailer is regarded as the UK’s biggest private sector employer.
The grocery giant said the latest job cuts are part of a continuing review of how its stores are operated amid an “increasingly competitive and challenging retail environment”.
It said that it has started conversations with staff about its plans to simplify and reduce processes and administrative tasks across all of its Metro stores.
The Metro format was originally designed for larger, weekly shops, but Tesco said that nearly 70 per cent of customers now use them as convenience stores, buying food for that day rather than buying bigger baskets.
Faster and simpler ways of filling the Metro shelves was one of the operational changes in the pipeline, with more products going directly to the shop floor and fewer being held in the back rooms.
This means staff will need to be more flexible, working across different departments and adding more focus on keeping stock levels high during busy periods of the day.
Tesco added there would be “a leaner management structure”.
For its Express stores, Tesco said 134 of them – out of a total of 1750 – will experience a “slight reduction” in opening hours during quieter trading periods at the start and end of the day, and simplifying stock routines.
For some of its large stores, Tesco said it would streamline operational routines, including how it moves stock around the store and filling shelves.
“In a challenging, evolving retail environment, with increasing cost pressures, we have to continue to review the way we run our stores to ensure we reflect the way our customers are shopping and do so in the most efficient way,” Tesco UK chief executive Jason Tarry said.
“We do not take any decision which impacts colleagues lightly, but have to make sure we remain relevant for customers and operate a sustainable business now and in the future.”
Trade union Usdaw, which represents over 160,000 Tesco staff, said it would be entering into collective consultation with the company.
“Our members at Tesco are shocked and dismayed by yet another round of potential job losses, coming just months after 9000 staff were put at risk in stores,” Usdaw national officer Pauline Foulkes said.
“We will be working hard to make sure that any members potentially affected by these proposals are supported at this difficult time and throughout the consultation period.
“This issue is not confined to Tesco, our high streets are in crisis, with jobs being lost due to shops closing, retailers folding and businesses engaging in significant restructuring to survive.
“We need the government to address the worries and concerns of shop workers and our members.”
The latest round of job cuts comes after Tesco revealed it was looking to review 9000 jobs across its business in January.
The staff affected were those who worked at 90 fresh food counters of its largest supermarkets, head office, staff canteens, and the on the shop floor.
The announcement in January was part of a turnaround scheme first launched four years ago under group chief executive Dave Lewis.