The retailer has announced it is removing the role of store trainer, a job which is currently held by 870 employees.
Instead, Sainsbury’s wants to replace the 870 roles with 280 new L&D managers. These new ‘senior trainers’ will be tasked with working across several stores.
Sainsbury’s added that those whose jobs are at stake can apply for the more senior roles and that they would attempt to redeploy staff where they could.
The supermarket also said that the job cuts would impact only one trainer at each of its large superstores.
“We’ve introduced new learning and development programs to ensure our colleagues can continue to deliver the very best service to our customers,” Sainsbury’s said.
“Following this, we’re now creating a new management role that will provide enhanced training support across a number of stores. This position will replace the existing store trainer role.”
The decision is a risky one in that the removal of these posts could undermine customer service, said Neil Saunders of the retail analysis firm Conlumino.
“The benefits of an in-store trainer are that they are on the ground to support training needs and can carefully monitor progress and identify areas that need addressing,” Saunders was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
“They also form a close and personal relationship with the staff in the store.
"Given that service is a critical differentiator for Sainsbury’s this is a risk that the firm will have to manage carefully.”
In response, the country’s largest union, Unite, has expressed its ‘severe disappointment’.
Unite said that they would be campaigning hard to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies which will be amongst store trainers and those working nightshift operations.
“This is very bad news for those dedicated workers affected by the planned job losses and Unite will be giving our members maximum support at this difficult time,” said Unite national officer for food and drink, Julia Long.
“We are now entering the 45-day consultation period and will be having meetings with management, including asking the company if it has done an equalities’ audit of those affected by today’s announcement.”
The UK's second-biggest supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, is putting up to 870 jobs at risk as it revolutionises the structure of its store management.