Workers union USDAW has condemned plans by Tesco to cut back more than 9,000 jobs.
The supermarket retailer is planning to cut its core grocery and fresh departments in 90 of its large stores with the remaining 700 trading with either a full or flexible counter offer.
Tesco has at least six large stores in Bedfordshire, including Bedford, Flitwick, Sandy, Leighton Buzzard and on the border of Luton and Dunstable.
It’s also changing the way it manages stock, which the retailer says can be done with a significantly reduced workload, reducing layout changes and cutting staff canteens as well as reducing staff at its head office.
In a statement the conpany said: “Contrary to media reports over the weekend, we do not plan to make any significant changes to bakeries this year.
“Overall, we estimate that up to 9,000 Tesco colleague roles could be impacted, however, our expectation is that up to half of these colleagues could be redeployed to other customer-facing roles. We are working with our third party providers to understand the impact on their staff in our colleague hot food service.
Pauline Foulkes - Usdaw National Officer said: “Staff at Tesco are shocked and dismayed by the scale of yet another round of potential job losses, which clearly demonstrates the pressure retailers are under in the current very difficult and uncertain economic climate, as the cost cutting continues. With the British Retail Consortium estimating that there were 70,000 job losses across the retail sector last year, we need an industrial strategy lead by the Government, working with Usdaw and retailers to tackle the crisis on our high streets.
“This is devastating news for staff, who have played a crucial role in Tesco’s turnaround project, contributing to 12 successive quarters of growth, solid Christmas trading and over a billion pounds of profit. We will enter into consultation talks with Tesco, where we will examine the business case for their proposed changes. In the meantime we are providing our members with the support, advice and representation they require at this difficult time.”