Sainsbury’s restructure puts 1,150 jobs at risk

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Sainsbury’s has announced a new reorganisation will put 1,150 jobs at risk.

The UK’s second largest supermarket chain said it had begun a consultation on removing 500 office roles while 650 other workers’ roles are under threat as it advanced plans to close an online delivery warehouse in Bromley-by-Bow, east London, in June. It hoped that some of the staff at the warehouse will be redeployed at stores.

Offices in Coventry and Victoria in London will close and the firm will move out of two of the five remaining floors it occupies at its London head office in Holborn. Two further floors at its Avebury office in Milton Keynes will close and one in Manchester.

The closures reflect the policy for many staff to permanently switch to working part-time from home, with Sainsbury’s saying that its remaining office space would be adapted to create “collaborative workspaces” to encourage greater flexibility when they reopen.

The restructuring would affect the retail giant’s human resources, commercial operations, supply chain and logistics, technology and general merchandise and clothing teams.

Last week, the company rewarded frontline staff for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic with pay rises and a one-off bonus.

Sainsbury’s joins Asda this year in planning job losses after rapid industry hiring over the past 12 months to meet demand for deliveries. Part of the trigger for the reorganisation is the fact that supermarket sales are expected to start falling as the lockdown eases. This will particularly be the case once other food outlets such as pubs, cafes, restaurants, and school canteens start reopening.

Asda said it was placing up to 3,000 store jobs at risk under its plans to grow its online sales capabilities.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said: “Our new plan puts food first and will create a simpler, nimbler and more efficient business.

“The money we save will enable us to invest in what customers really care about – lower prices, exciting new products and the most convenient ways for them to shop.

“I know change is difficult, but to do the best job we can for our customers, it is vital that we adapt.

“I understand this will be a very difficult time for affected colleagues and we will do everything we can to fully support them.”

Sainsbury’s said the shake-up would free up cash for investment in its food offering as the grocery sector remains locked in a price war.

In November 2020, Sainsbury’s announced plans to shed 3,500 jobs as it closed some of its Argos stores and all deli counters.

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