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Asda is planning to close staff canteens and cut some shop floor services in moves that would see more than 1,000 job losses as it seeks to streamline its operations because of weak sales recently.
It comes after it recently announced plans to cut 200 jobs at its Leeds headquarters. It is also understood that the retailer has given 800 or more staff both in Leeds and at the headquarters of its George clothing brand in Leicester, until Friday (22 January) to decide if they are prepared to shift into new roles.
Apart from Asda's plan to scrap the canteens in 350 of its 620 stores, it is considering closing or selling its photo-developing services, reducing the opening hours of its pharmacy and other customer services such as fresh pizza-making and its George clothing advice.
However, some of staff will be redeployed at its core departments, such as fresh groceries. On Wednesday (20 January), managers of UK's third largest supermarket chain met with union representatives to discuss 4,000 other job moves or changes in its stores.
As part of its cutbacks, it will also eliminate vending machines in stores and stop giving its employees free morning tea and toast. However, the grocer would install hot drinks machines, fridges and microwaves to allow staff to prepare their own food if the plan to shut canteens goes through.
An Asda spokesperson said the company had entered into a 45-day agreement with its store staff on these proposals, which Asda believes would make it a more leaner and agile business.
"These proposals are designed to make our stores easier to shop in and be more effective in delivering the low prices, quality and good value which customers tell us they want."
The spokesperson added that 2015 was a tough year for all UK supermarkets, including Asda.
"The structure of UK grocery retailing has permanently changed to reflect the way that customers shop today. We know our customers better than anyone else and we need to make sure that our offer meets their changing needs," the spokesperson said, according to The Guardian.
Asda is not the first to cut jobs due to poor sales. In 2015, Tesco revealed that it could cut as many as 10,000 jobs as part of a turnaround plan, of which 6,000 would be at its head offices.