Morrisons Plans 2,600 Job Cuts In Shake-Up
Morrisons has confirmed plans for 2,600 job cuts as the loss-making supermarket chain battles falling sales and market share.
A statement detailing the changes said the losses, representing 2% of its workforce, would result from cutting tiers of in-store management.
But the company insisted it could improve customer service at the same time as more staff would be focused on serving shoppers.
The announcement was made as the supermarket combats a flight to discounters with a series of price cuts that will cost it £1bn over three years.
Earlier this month, Morrisons reported a 7.1% slump in quarterly sales on the back of annual losses of £176m - a performance which prompted chief executive Dalton Philips to waive his bonus.
Morrisons has been the worst performer among the big four chains in terms of sales amid tough competition from the discounters, including Aldi and Lidl, though major rivals including Tesco have also endured falling market share.
The chain was slow to launch an online food offering and also lagged behind its biggest competitors on convenience store numbers.
Former chairman Sir Ken Morrison used the supermarket's annual general meeting to publicly criticise the current management's strategy just a week ago - reportedly describing it as "bull****".
Morrisons said that while the changes would be painful for its workforce, trials of its planned new management structures had proved a hit with customers.
The statement suggested that some stores currently had seven tiers between the shop floor and the store manager and it hoped to relocate some of those managers who will lose their jobs to new store and convenience operations.
Mr Philips said: "This is the right time to modernise the way our stores are managed.
"These changes will improve our focus on customers and lead to simpler, smarter ways of working.
"We know that moving to the new management structure will mean uncertainty for our colleagues and we will be supporting them through the process."
The company's share price - which has lost more than a quarter of its value over the past year - rose 3% in the moments after the announcement was made.
The union Usdaw took a different approach to that of investors.
National officer Joanne McGuinness said: "The next few weeks will be a worrying time for our members in Morrisons and we will do everything possible to support them.
"Today marks the start of a 45-day consultation period, where we will look in detail at the company's business case.
"Our priority will be to safeguard as many jobs as possible, maximise employment within the business and get the best possible outcome for our members affected by this restructuring."