Thousands of new job cuts announced

As the new lockdown gets under way thousands of new job cuts have been announced.

Sainsburys has announced 3,500 redundancies which will mainly come from the Argos chain it bought in 2016. John Lewis has said it will lose 1,300 jobs at its head office and Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) is cutting 1,070, but will create another 330 for a net loss of 740.

Close

Sainsburys said they plan to close 420 Argos stand-alone stores by March 2024, but it also plans to launch 150 outlets in Sainsburys stores.

As it announced a £137 million loss for the first half of the year it said the job losses would come from within stores with the closure of delicatessens and fresh fish and meat counters.

Sustainable profits

John Lewis said its decision to cut 1,500 head office jobs was part of its five year plan to return the business to sustainable profits by 2025.

It had previously announced the closure of eight John Lewis stores with the loss of 1,300 jobs and the closure of four Waitrose outlets affecting 124 jobs.

The firm is widely seen as a benchmark for the UK’s high streets, but it was dealt a major blow earlier this year when online supermarket Ocado dropped its services in favour of Marks & Spencer.

Thriving

Chairman Sharon White said: “Our Partnership Plan sets a course to create a thriving and sustainable business for the future.

To achieve this we must be agile and able to adapt quickly to the changing needs of our customers.

“Losing Partners is incredibly hard as an employee-owned business.

Wherever possible, we will seek to find new roles in the Partnership and we’ll provide the best support and retraining opportunities for Partners who leave us.”

Restructuring

The 1,070 posts to go at LBG (Lloyds, Halifax and Bank Of Scotland) are the latest of a string of redundancies announced by the group as part of its restructuring plan.

It follows September’s announcement that another 865 jobs were to go mainly in its insurance, wealth and retail teams. However, intends to create 330 new roles and there will be no further branch closures.

A spokesman said: “This morning we shared changes to some of our teams and we can confirm a net reduction of around 740 roles.

These changes reflect our ongoing plans to continue to meet our customers’ changing needs and make parts of our business simpler.

Affected

“The majority of colleagues briefed today will not leave until January at the earliest. We will help colleagues who are affected find new roles and redeployment opportunities wherever possible.

‘Everyone will be given access to a package of training and support designed to help them secure their next position, whether within or outside of our business.

Change does mean making difficult decisions and our focus remains on supporting our customers, colleagues and communities.”

Commitment

Unite union national officer Rob MacGregor commented: “Unite cannot comprehend why LBG would choose to cut 1,000 staff who have given the bank such commitment and dedication during a global pandemic. These staff have worked tirelessly despite any risks to themselves.”

Work from home

LBG has also told most of its 65,000 staff to work from home until spring at the earliest.

It said it was following government guidelines for staff to work from home if they can.

It is understood that about two thirds are working from home. But staff are still manning the counters at 890 branches.

“• The latest announcements bring the total of redundancies notified by major British employers since the pandemic started to 214,651.”