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Supermarket Goliath Sainsbury’s are creating a new management role for training staff which union leaders say could prompt the loss of hundreds of jobs.

The company, which is in the process of buying the Home Retail Group which owns Argos, has begun a consultation with 870 of its training staff as it plans to change their job roles.

Sainsbury’s is planning to employ 280 senior trainers who will work across several stores and the rest, the company hopes, will be redeployed.

Bad news

The trade union Unite though believes that the announcement equals potential job losses. The national officer for food and drink, Julia Long, told The Guardian: “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.

“We are severely disappointed as Sainsbury’s seems to have deep pockets when it wants, as it has just forked out £1.4bn to purchase the Home Retail Group. 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 continuing employment for our members.”

Working late

There are also some fears that there might be further cuts to the ranks of staff that work late at Sainsbury’s. The company is also currently in consultations with 1,900 night workers about changes to their hours.

The supermarket claims that it no longer requires people to work through the night but would be moving hours to the late evening and the early morning in an attempt to avoid job cuts.