COUNTY NEWS: Sainsbury's shake up could put '˜850 jobs at risk'

Changes to store operations at Sainsbury's has led a union to express '˜severe disappointment' that it could see the '˜axing up to 850 staff'.

Sainsbury's Old Steine, Brighton
Sainsbury's Old Steine, Brighton

The supermarket chain, which has numerous stores across Sussex, has called the claims ‘not entirely true’.

In a statement Gemma Shaw, senior corporate communications manager for the company, said: “We’ve introduced new Learning and Development programmes to ensure our colleagues can continue to deliver the very best service to our customers.

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“Following this we’re now creating a new management role that will provide enhanced training support across a number of stores. This position will replace the existing store trainer role.”

Sainsbury’s currently employs 870 in-store trainers, with 280 new manager positions planned as a result of this move.

Ms Shaw added: “All affected colleagues will have the opportunity to apply for these more senior roles. We will also look to redeploy affected colleagues where possible.”

Unite, the country’s largest union, which has more than 14,000 members at Sainsbury’s, said that it would be campaigning hard to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies.

Unite national officer for food and drink Julia Long 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.”

The announcement on April 5 comes just days after Sainsbury’s agreed a £1.4bn deal to buy Argos owner, the Home Retail Group.

Ms Long added: “We are severely disappointed as Sainsbury’s seems to have deep pockets when it wants...

“We appreciate that Sainsbury’s has a good record of redeployment of staff in these situations and we will be exploring every avenue to ensure continuing employment for our members.”

A 45-day consultation period will now begin with Unite having with Sainsbury’s management, the impact locally is not yet known.