By Lauren Howells.

Supermarket giant Asda has issued potential redundancy notices to just under 2,500 of its staff.

Workers across various different areas of work could be affected, including George, petrol and bakery departments. 

Back-office workers and hosting could also be affected by the potential cuts.

According to the GMB Union, which represents Asda workers, the potential cuts could take place from February 2019.  

Sainsbury’s-Asda merger

Earlier this year, it was announced that Asda had agreed to merge with Sainsbury’s, resulting in the UK’s competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), launching an investigation into the proposed merger. The deal will result in Asda and Sainsbury’s becoming Britain’s biggest supermarket chain, overtaking Tesco.

Despite some speculation that Aldi and Lidl’s rapid growth would not be considered by the CMA in its investigation, it emerged earlier this month that the review would be broadened to take account of the rise in popularity of the German discounters. 

In April of this year, it was reported that discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl had boosted their market share to “new record highs” and that both Sainsbury’s and Asda had “lost ground” to them.

Asda could cut up to 2,500 jobs

Asda said that it needed to consider changing the roles it needed its employees to do or the hours that were required in particular parts of its stores. 

“In a competitive retail market, where customers rightly expect great value and ease of service, we must always look at how we can work more quickly and efficiently for them,”

Asda added that it believed the proposed changes that it was consulting on, would allow it to do a better job for its customers.

Discussions about potential change “aren’t easy”

It added that it recognised that discussions about potential change “aren’t easy” and if it took the decision to implement the proposed changes, it would work with its “colleagues to look at the potential impact of these proposals on them”.

GMB National Officer, Gary Carter, described the proposed redundancies as a “hammer blow” to Asda workers and said that the timing of the announcement, in the run-up to Christmas, was “doubly appalling”. 

He said that Asda is highly profitable and performing well due to the hard work of GMB’s members, which he described as “the backbone of the company”.

“…this news will not put anyone’s mind at rest”

“These cuts make no sense whatsoever – slashing our member’s jobs would hurt the service ASDA customers receive. GMB will fight tooth and nail for every single job.

“With all the speculation surrounding the proposed Sainsbury’s merger and potential sell-offs of stores – this news will not put anyone’s mind at rest,” he added.