Asda has warned that 3,000 workers within its stores are at risk of losing their jobs as the new owners of the supermarket chain plan to increase their investment in the company’s online sales
The third-largest supermarket chain in the UK, Asda, said that the shake-up was driven by a shift in demand towards online grocery deliveries which had taken off as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Asda has said that while it had begun its consultations with 5,000 members of its back office store workers, it had hoped that the plan would result in no more than 3,000 Asda job roles being lost.
On a net basis, Asda has said that its plans would be resulting in 1,500 employment additions as it was to be seeking 4,500 new members of staff to drive online growth of the brand.
This comes after businesses have welcomed news that the non-essential retail sector could reopen as soon as the 12th of April. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons, as he outlined his roadmap for England’s way out of lockdown.
It was expected that many of those who were tipped to lose out would be able to take on one of these new jobs, Asda said.
They were most likely to be working within in store cash and administrative roles currently.
The proposed closure of both its Dartford and Heston home shopping centres would be resulting in 800 jobs being affected, Asda said.
It said that the restructuring could see 1,100 store management roles being given a new grocery delivery focus.
The chain’s chief executive, Roger Burnley, said: “The pandemic has accelerated change across the retail sector especially the shift towards grocery home shopping and our priority is to serve customers in the way they want to shop with us.
“The last 12 months have shown us that businesses have to be prepared to adapt quickly to change and I am incredibly proud of the way we demonstrated our agility and resilience through the pandemic.
“We know that these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this consultation process.
“Our plans to transform the business will result in more roles being created than those we propose to remove and our absolute aim is to ensure as many colleagues as possible stay with us, as well as creating the opportunity to welcome new people to our business.”
This comes after the unemployment rate in the UK has risen to its highest level in almost five years, with young workers in the country bearing the brunt of the job losses, official figures are showing
The shake-up was the first to be announced under the new ownership of brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, whose funding of the deal has attracted union criticism.
They took control of the business from Walmart earlier this month though the transaction is yet to be formally cleared by regulators.