Tesco to make big changes to stores, affecting 2,100 jobs

Supermarket chain to reduce number of shop managers and close remaining counters and hot delis

Tesco has announced a shake-up of its shop management in large UK stores along with the closure of its remaining meat, fish and hot deli counters, affecting 2,100 jobs.

The UK’s biggest grocer said it had started introducing a new management structure in 350 of its smaller superstores over the past two years and was extending this structure across its larger superstores and Extra stores.

Tesco will cut the number of lead and team managers in large UK stores by 1,750, and introduce 1,800 new lower-paid “shift leader” roles, responsible for leading on the day-to-day operational duties on the shop floor.

Those affected will have the option of moving into shift leader roles, where Tesco currently has vacancies, or taking redundancy. Given the shift leader job is lower paid, staff who want to stay on at Tesco will be offered the choice of receiving a lump sum to make up for the discrepancy in salary, or can opt to receive the same pay as before for two years.

Most Tesco supermarkets no longer operate counters, and it will shut those offering meat and fish as well as hot delis from 26 February.

A further 350 roles will be affected by other changes: the closure of eight pharmacies in supermarkets; moving overnight roles to the daytime in 12 stores and reducing hours in some post offices. Some jobs will also go at Tesco’s head office in Welwyn Garden City and the group intends to shut its maintenance national operating centre in Milton Keynes.

Jason Tarry, the chief executive of Tesco UK and Ireland, said: “These are difficult decisions to make, but they are necessary to ensure we remain focused on delivering value for our customers wherever we can, as well as ensuring our store offer reflects what our customers value the most. Our priority is to support those colleagues impacted and help find alternative roles within our business from the vacancies and newly created roles we have available.”

Tesco did not pay a Christmas bonus to staff for the second year in a row and only handed out a box of Quality Street confectionery worth £5 to some staff. The company paid a 10% festive bonus in 2020 and in previous years gave out a shopping voucher.

That was despite the chief executive, Ken Murphy, hailing “further strong growth at Christmas on top of the exceptional growth of the last few years”. The supermarket chain reported a 6.1% increase in like-for-like sales in the 19 weeks to 7 January, with revenues up 7.8% during the three-week Christmas period. Food sales climbed 12.9%.

Tesco stuck to previous guidance, predicting an adjusted operating profit of between £2.4bn and £2.5bn for the full year.


Julia Kollewe and Joanna Partridge

The GuardianTramp

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