Waitrose workers have been warned that some jobs are at risk as the business looks to ramp up productivity and reduce costs.
The upmarket supermarket, which is part of the ailing John Lewis Partnership, is understood to have entered into talks with employees late last month to discuss changing the hours they work, the Financial Times reported.
Tina Mitchell, retail director at Waitrose, said in a staff video seen by the outlet that its employees – which are called partners because they jointly own the business – need to make “sacrifices and compromises”.
Mitchell also warned that its cost cutting operations may result in “some partners leaving the business”, which was understood to be in regard to a small number of night shifts roles in its shops.
Waitrose reportedly expects to save £50m a year from shaking up staff contracts and confessed that a third of its hours were “in the wrong place”.
“Unless we change how we work, there’s a real danger that the partnership won’t exist in the form that we want it to in the future,” Martin was reported to say.
A spokesperson for Waitrose told City A.M.: ”We want to provide the very best service to our customers and this means having the right amount of partners doing the right tasks at the right time.
“To do this, we’re asking some partners across our shops to change their working pattern, and are proposing to cease night shifts at a small number of stores. This isn’t something we take lightly and we’ll be supporting our partners through any changes.”
Staff at Waitrose are not part of a union, unlike other popular grocers such as Asda, which have drafted in representational help from the GMB union in the past to deal with staff contract concerns.
The union has also represented Asda on a number of issues including accusations that the grocer had issued the threat of using fire and rehire tactics if a proportion of its staff did not except its 60p pay cut.
Employers can not legally change employee contracts without employees’ permission.
In recent months, the John Lewis Partnership which also owns department store John Lewis, has been pulling out all the stops to shore up extra funds as economic headwinds and changing shopping habits sent its profits sinking – including axing its staff bonus.
The brand also drafted in its first ever chief executive, Nish Kankiwala, earlier this year to work closely with Dame Sharon White, while she attempts to keep the company above water.