By Lauren Howells

Thousands of jobs are at risk after both Sainsbury’s and Tesco announced last week that they were making changes to their operational structures.

Tesco’s changes will affect 1,700 of its employees

Tesco said that the role of People Manager and Compliance Manager would be removed from large stores and fulfilment centres in the UK, as well as the role of Customer Experience Manager, which exists in 226 stores. The UK’s largest supermarket chain promised that 900 new roles with “broader remits” would be created. It confirmed that the changes would affect 1,700 of its employees but that those affected would be “supported to find alternative roles within the business wherever possible”.

Tesco UK and ROI CEO, Matt Davies, said:

“These changes remove complexity and will deliver a simpler, more helpful experience for colleagues and customers. We recognise these are difficult changes to make but they are necessary to ensure our business remains competitive and set up for the future.”

Thousands of jobs at Sainsbury’s also at risk

Meanwhile, according to the BBC, Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second-largest supermarket chain, also intends to scrap some management posts, although it would reportedly not confirm exactly how many employees would be affected, only that it was “in the thousands”.

The BBC said that Sainsbury’s was planning to replace these posts by fewer but mostly “better paid” management roles, which employees could apply for. If applicants were not successful, the BBC reported that they would either have to accept a “more junior position” or “face redundancy”.

Retail and operations director of Sainsbury’s, Simon Roberts, told the BBC: “We’re proposing a store management structure that will deliver best in class leadership and, in many cases, will offer an improved reward package for new management roles.

“The proposals will introduce a more efficient and effective structure, designed to meet the challenges of today’s retail environment. They will deliver cost savings to be invested in our customer offer and in our colleagues as they continue to provide the very best service for our customers.

“Our intention is not to reduce overall headcount as a result of these proposals. I appreciate this will be a difficult time for those affected and we will fully support our people through these changes.”

Unite called for ‘no compulsory redundancies’

Following Sainsbury’s announcement, Unite union, which represents over 12,000 members working for Sainsbury’s, said that it would be seeking guarantees over “no compulsory redundancies” at the supermarket giant and called on Sainsbury’s to offer redeployment opportunities for affected staff.

Unite acting national officer for food and drink Bev Clarkson said:

“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”.

According to the Guardian, more than 800 workers at Asda could also be facing a pay cut or redundancy.