Tesco cuts 1,200 head office jobs, 1,100 at its call centre

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Shopping trolleys are seen at a Tesco Express in southwest London September 22, 2014.
Shopping trolleys are seen at a Tesco Express in southwest London September 22, 2014. Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Tesco continues with its savings drive by reportedly cutting 1,200 head-office jobs, one week after it announced that 1,100 jobs would be axed at its call centre. The UK’s largest supermarket chain previously said it will close a call centre in Cardiff.

One quarter of workers at offices in Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City face  job cuts along with those at the Birmingham head office of Tesco’s One Stop chain and its centre in Bangalore, India. Employees were told about the latest cuts earlier this week.

A Tesco spokesperson said it is an essential step to continue the turnaround of the business. “This new service model will simplify the way we organise ourselves, reduce duplication and cost but also, very importantly, allow us to invest in serving shoppers better,” the spokesperson said, according to The Guardian, adding that the company has made progress in their turnaround but has to do more. Tesco is currently under a turnaround plan led by chief executive Dave Lewis.

In February, the supermarket chain gave a heads up about its plan to close one of its two call centres. The other call centre in Dundee will create 250 jobs, which will be in charge of customer queries. Those who lose their jobs in Cardiff will be offered work.

‘Understandably shocking’

Usdaw’s divisional officer Nick Ireland said employees in Cardiff were “understandably shocked” by the cuts. Usdaw is the shopworkers’ trade union. He said it was clearly devastating news for their members. Ireland also thinks the jobs cuts will have a more comprehensive impact on south Wales since the local economy lost several jobs.

Ireland has said they will have consultation talks with the company to look at the business case for the proposed closure. He added that priority is to keep as many members as possible with jobs, whether with Tesco or with other local companies.

According to Andrew RT Davies, Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly leader, the Tesco jobs cuts could be the biggest single loss of jobs in Wales since 2009. He warned it would be a “huge blow” not only for workers and their families but for the South Wales economy as well.

The recently announced cuts are the latest in a series of cutbacks implemented as part of a turnaround plan led by Lewis. He said last year retailers faced a “potentially lethal cocktail” as profits slumped.

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