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Tesco staff rattled over 'job cuts' as unions press company to confirm reports

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Many Tesco staff now fear for their futures. Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Unions and staff have hit out at Tesco over reports of job losses in the media, with thousands of employees now fearing for their future at the supermarket chain.

One union representative said it was “appalling” that workers had been forced to read in the newspapers on Sunday that up to 15,000 posts could face the chop, with bakeries and meat, fish and deli counters feared to be at risk.

The supermarket, Britain’s biggest private sector employer, has not confirmed if the reports are accurate, but an internal company email said plans were “still being finalised”, according to the BBC.

Unions representing Tesco employees are seeking urgent talks with the company to find out if their members’ roles could be at risk.

READ MORE: Tesco’s brutal plan to axe 15,000 jobs includes ending human interaction

Pauline Foulkes, national officer at the main Tesco workers’ union Usdaw, said: “Reports and speculation in the media about significant job cuts are distressing for Tesco staff and it is appalling that they should hear about the future of their jobs in this way.

“Our priority will be to press Tesco to confirm the details of their proposed changes to stop any further speculation.”

Several people who said they worked for Tesco, which has more than 300,000 staff, wrote on Twitter of their alarm and anger at the media reports.

One said this morning:  “Tesco have excelled themselves with their staff communication. I’m a Tesco employee, I find out about job cuts from the news … and not even an email from Tesco to help reassure staff after the info leak. Gold star, Tesco.”

Oddly, I’m viewing this as an opportunity to find another job. As yet we’ve had no communication to say whose jobs are safe, and that’s not a company I want to work for.

“After almost six years of not feeling valued, this is a good time to move on.”

READ MORE: Big Four supermarkets lose ground to discount rivals

Another also condemned the lack of communication, writing: “I’m waiting to see how long it takes before I get the phone call about my job! Every little helps … or not.”

A third tweeted: “Today has been a super rough day. Finding out that I’m very likely going to be losing my job sent my mental health plummeting right back down again.”

Adrian Jones, an official at the Unite union which represents about 1,000 workers at Tesco distribution centres, said he was pressing the firm to find out what any changes could mean for them.

Source: Kantar Worldpanel

The reported cuts could include the closure of many fresh food counters and reduced hours for remaining ones, as well as staff canteens being shut down.

It comes as Tesco faces huge competition from German discount grocers Aldi and Lidl, which have cut into the market share of leading supermarkets in recent years.

Tesco and the UK’s other ‘Big Four’ supermarkets Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L), Asda, and Morrisons (MRW.L) are all cutting prices to compete with the newer rivals.

Tesco has been approached for comment.