The society’s rapid expansion in recent years has meant there are over 100 different job titles in food stores acquired from other retailers, and the change will bring just five positions across four tiers across the near 3,000 store portfolio.
A review of the structure will lead to 1,700 new jobs being recruited during the next five months. These positions are in addition to plans to expand the food network in the next three years, which will add around 7,000 extra store staff.
In some stores there will be a reduction in the number of management positions. However, given the overall increase in roles, the society said it hopes to retain as many affected colleagues as possible by redeploying them elsewhere in the business.
Tim Hurrell, Chief Executive, The Co-operative Food, said: “We’re adopting a consistent approach, that is appropriate to the size of each store and will help us meet our goal of delivering excellent service. The net effect is a gain of 1,700 jobs and these jobs will be at management level in stores. Where we fill these roles internally it will create opportunities at all levels.
“We are proud of the role our stores play at the heart of so many communities right across the UK and these changes will help us to further improve our customer service.”
The Group has been working with the trade union USDAW during negotiations on the new structures and terms and conditions.
Sharon Ainsworth, Usdaw National Officer, said: “This sensible and long overdue restructure will benefit the business as a whole and will address many of the issues of concern our members have raised in the past about senior staffing levels in some stores.
“However, although the vast majority of staff will see no change to either their job or pay, the restructure will cause uncertainty and worry for many members and unfortunately may even leave some at risk of redundancy. Usdaw has been fully consulted on the changes and we have negotiated a process of mapping staff into the new roles that we believe is both fair and equitable and will protect jobs and earnings.”