Morrisons to axe 1,500 roles as it focuses on frontline services

A Morrisons store in Yorkshire. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
A Morrisons store in Yorkshire. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Morrisons is to axe 1,500 roles as it becomes the latest supermarket to announce large-scale job cuts.

The supermarket giant said the shake-up is part of a restructure which would see more customer service staff and fewer managers.

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.”

Simultaneously Morrisons said it will create 1,700 junior jobs.

The Bradford-based firm also said affected managers will be given the opportunity to apply for around 800 management vacancies in Morrisons stores.

Several household names have embarked on job cutting drives recently, including supermarket behemoths Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda.

Earlier this week B&Q said it is to swing the axe on 200 head office jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive at the DIY retailer.

The news comes at a bruising time for high street retailers, which are struggling with Brexit-fuelled inflation that has sent the cost of goods rocket and consumer confidence plummeting.

To compound matters, firms have been stung by soaring business rates.

However, Morrisons has been among the strongest performers compared to its peers over the past 12 months, with a turnaround led by chief executive David Potts bearing fruit.

Over Christmas, Morrisons was a stand-out performer among the so called Big Four thanks to surging sales of its premium range and efforts to keep a lid on prices.

Group like-for-like sales jumped 2.8% in the 10 weeks to January 7, with retail sales up 2.1% and wholesale 0.7% ahead.

It said it enjoyed an “especially strong” festive season as sales picked up pace in the last seven weeks, up 3.7% across the group.

Joanne McGuinness, Usdaw and Sata national officer, said: “This is a further big upheaval for the Morrisons store management team after the restructure in 2014/15. We will be entering into consultations with the company on behalf of our members affected by these changes, which the company proposes to implement in April.

“We are providing Sata members with the support, advice and representation they require through this process. Our priorities are to avoid redundancies and help our members stay employed within the business. We have secured from Morrisons a commitment to offer redeployment opportunities for all affected managers.”