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Sainsbury's have announced that they are changing the way they manage their stores across the UK and scrapping some management posts - and that 'thousands' of employees may be affected as a result. 

Simon Roberts, retail and operations director of Sainsbury's, said: "The proposals will introduce a more efficient and effective structure, designed to meet the challenges of today's retail environment. They will deliver cost savings to be invested in our customer offer and in our colleagues as they continue to provide the very best service for our customers. Our intention is not to reduce overall headcount as a result of these proposals."

It is clear that the biggest supermarkets continue to search for ways of cutting their costs in order to compete with the price challenge that discounters, particularly Aldi and Lidl, have set them. Sainsbury's is trying to cut costs and simplify its plans to save £500m over the next three years. Tesco announced yesterday that it would be cutting 1,700 jobs from its stores and warehouses, and is aiming to make £1.5bn in cost savings over the three years to 2020. 

More detail of saving money by restructuring management came from the Unite union, which represents more than 12,000 members working for Sainsbury's. They said the jobs to be scrapped included team leader/store supervisor roles in all branches. There would also be "major changes" to the department manager and deputy manager structure, it added.

The union said it would seek "guarantees" that there would be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the restructuring. And it is interesting to note that there is clearly a good record of industrial relations at the store: "We appreciate that Sainsbury's has a good record of redeployment of staff in these situations and we will be exploring every avenue to ensure the continuing employment for our members," said Unite's Bev Clarkson.

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