Update: 9,000 Tesco jobs at risk

Following reports yesterday that Tesco was planning to make 15,000 redundancies as part of its chief executive’s promise to cut costs by £1.5 billion by 2020, the supermarket chain has responded.

According to The Mail on Sunday, Dave Lewis’ plans target the supermarket chain’s 732 largest stores, specifically those staff employed as butchers, fishmongers, bakers and at cheese stands and delicatessens.

This afternoon, Tesco stated that an estimated 9,000 roles could be impacted, although up to half of these could be redeployed to other customer-facing roles.

Jason Tarry, chief executive for UK and the Republic of Ireland, stated: “In our four years of turnaround we’ve made good progress, but the market is challenging and we need to continually adapt to remain competitive and respond to how customers want to shop.

"We’re making changes to our UK stores and head office to simplify what we do and how we do it, so we’re better able to meet the needs of our customers," he added.

These changes include the closure of counters in around 90 stores, with the remaining 700 trading with either a "full or flexible" counter offer, simplification of stock control which mean "significantly reduced workload" with fewer hours needed to complete the routines, and work to reduce the amount of layout changes, meaning fewer merchandising hours for staff.

Staff kitchens will move to self-service, while a review of head office roles will move "to a simpler and leaner structure". However, contrary to earlier reports, no changes are planned to in-store bakeries this year.

Since Lewis took charge of Tesco in 2014, more than 10,000 jobs have been cut.

The Usdaw union called the reports “distressing” and said it is seeking an urgent meeting with the company to clarify the situation, to examine the details of what changes they are proposing and what this means for staff.

The Tesco statement noted: "We will be doing all we can to help colleagues affected by these changes, including offering redeployment opportunities wherever possible."

The news follows Tesco spending £4 billion last year to acquire wholesaler and convenience store operator Booker, to have more control over its supply chain.

It also launched discount grocery chain Jack’s in September, as a direct response to rapidly-growing cheaper rivals Lidl and Aldi.

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