Morrisons is to axe 1,500 middle-management roles in stores as part of plans to cut costs and put more staff on the shop floor and tills.
The UK’s fourth largest supermarket chain said it wanted to create 1,700 jobs in store in an effort to improve customer service.
Consultation with the 1,500 workers, who include store warehouse managers, will begin on Thursday. They can apply for one of the 800 other management roles currently vacant at Morrisons but at least 700 will be forced to take a lower paid role or redundancy.
The changes at Morrisons come after similar moves at rivals Sainsbury’s and Tesco last month, which also put thousands of jobs at risk. Sainsbury’s is axing deputy manager, department manager, team leader and store supervisor roles forcing thousands of staff to take a pay cut or redundancy while Tesco is stripping out a layer of management from stores, putting up to 1,700 jobs at risk, in a bid to save £1.5bn.
The Guardian revealed in December that more than 800 senior Asda shopfloor workers were facing a pay cut or redundancy after the chain embarked on a further cost-cutting drive.
Gary Mills, Morrisons retail director, said: “Our aim is to serve customers better with more frontline colleagues in stores improving product availability and helping customers at the checkouts. Very regrettably, there will be a period of uncertainty for some managers affected by these proposals and we’ll be supporting them through this important process. Our commitment is to redeploy as many affected colleagues as possible.”
Supermarket chains are trying to slash staff costs amid aggressive competition from Aldi and Lidl as well as a switch to shopping online and in small local stores. Staff costs in particular have risen as the the national living wage increased to £7.83 an hour in April, following a rise from £7.20 to £7.50 last year. Business rate changes and the apprenticeship levy have also added to cost pressures.