Sainsbury's is planning to shed as many as 870 jobs as part of a major restructure of its stores.
The restructure, which comes hot on the heels of its £1.4bn takeover of Argos got the backing from parent Home Retail Group, involves replacing store trainers with new learning and development managers.
Around 870 jobs could be lost in the shake up, with new managers responsible for several stores rather than just one. However there will be around 280 new positions created, which all affected colleagues can apply for.
"We will also look to redeploy affected colleagues where possible," Sainsbury's said in a statement.
Unite, which represents more than 14,000 members of staff at the supermarket, said it would be "campaigning hard" to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies.
Unite national officer for food and drink Julia Long said: “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."
Long noted that Sainsbury’s "has a good record of redeployment of staff in these situations", saying the union would "be exploring every avenue to ensure continuing employment for our members."
“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," she added.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We’ve introduced new learning and development programmes to ensure our colleagues can continue to deliver the very best service to our customers. 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.
“We’re conducting a consultation process with all affected colleagues, who will have the opportunity to apply for the new, senior roles.”