herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Fears for Irish Tesco staff as firm to close 43 stores in shake-up

hundreds of Tesco workers fear losing their jobs as the company plans to close 43 stores in the UK and Ireland.

The supermarket giant is believed to be planning to remove a layer of middle management at its stores between the levels of store manager and shop assistant.

The staff affected by that change will be offered alternative roles but, according to weekend reports, it is not clear if those alternative positions will come from the same pay grade or if they will even be full-time positions.

Tesco's new chief executive, Dave Lewis, began a major reorganisation last year. It is closing or not opening 43 stores across the UK and Ireland and will cut staff levels at its corporate headquarters.

Those measures were expected to see the loss of around 6,000 positions but now the company is expected to remove a further 4,000 staff.

A Tesco spoksmen declined to comment on the potential job losses. Tesco employs more than 15,000 people across 142 stores in Ireland alone and has more than 300,000 staff in total.

Last month, the Herald revealed Tesco was making 350 Irish staff redundant as part of plans to reorganise night shift shelf packaging at 80 stores.

A total of 260 positions will be backfilled with shelf packing staff who will work during the day.

Approximately 90 positions will not be replaced.

squeezed

The company has long been the dominant player in the grocery sector but has come under severe pressure in recent years.

It has been squeezed by discounters such as Aldi and Lidl, and by smaller retailers.

It has also been hit hard by corporate governance issues. Last September it launched an investigation after revealing that its guidance on profits for the six months to August 23 was overstated by around £250m (€318m).

Four employees were suspended after the overstatement was discovered, and a further three were suspended a month later.

The company got some much needed good news last week when it emerged that Tesco sales rose in January for the first time in a year.

Mr Lewis has previously said he wants to simplify the business and cut costs by as much as €250m a year.

The company has already warned that group trading profits in this financial year will not exceed €1.89bn, down from €4.46bn last year, and analysts have claimed Tesco is losing money in the UK at present.

hnews@herald.ie

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