Tesco staff face axe, but new jobs in store

Tesco in Galashiels.
Tesco in Galashiels.

Staff at the Tesco Extra in Galashiels fear up to 40 jobs could be lost once the superstore ceases 24-hour trading later this year.

A source at the shop, who asked not to be named, told us that when the Paton Street store starts closing between the hours of midnight and 6am, nightshift workers will begin to lose their jobs.

TK Maxx is to open a store in Galashiels.

TK Maxx is to open a store in Galashiels.

While Tesco told us that this was not a job-cutting exercise, and that the move away from 24-hour trading was to improve their customers’ shopping trip during the day, the retail giant did not deny that some jobs could be lost.

A spokesman for Tesco said: “In April, we announced that we were planning some changes in a number of our stores, including in Galashiels, to help us run them more simply and deliver the best possible service for customers.

“Where this means changes to a colleague’s role, we will be working with them to ensure they are fully supported.”

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers said it is in talks with Tesco over the chain’s plans for a number of its stores.

Pauline Foulkes, the union’s national officer, said: “We are now entering into a period of consultation.

“Our priorities through this process are to keep as many people employed in the business as possible and get the best deal for staff.

“We are providing our members with the support, advice and representation they need through these changes.”

The union said that the changes the company is proposing differ from store to store but have included combining customer desks, merging departments, moving the nightshift onto days and other measures.

However, our source claims early talks with management have led staff to fear for their jobs.

Meanwhile, another retail chain, TK Maxx, is opening a new Galashiels store next Thursday, June 1.

The store, offering brand-name clothing and other items at low prices, has taken over the former Comet site on the Low Buckholmside Retail Park, and it claims the new store has provided 37 new jobs.

TK Maxx spokesperson commented: “We’re delighted to be opening a brand new store in Galashiels. We can’t wait for shoppers to walk through our doors and discover their own treasures.”

Jack Clark, convener of the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce, said all the job movements show that shoppers should not forget the independent High Street shops.

He told us: “Whatever Tesco do will be a business decision and they’ll have their reasons for doing so.

“I’ve always wondered who shops between midnight and 6am anyway.

“What this does show is that the big names will come and go, but at the same time, we don’t want to forget to support the existing suppliers in the high street.

“They are diminishing in their numbers – and it’s important that these are supported.”