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Call for urgent meeting with bosses of Sainsbury's over posts fears


MLA Sinead McLaughlin

MLA Sinead McLaughlin

MLA Sinead McLaughlin

A member of Stormont's economy committee is to seek an urgent meeting with Sainsbury's bosses amid fears of job losses here.

The supermarket giant is to cut around 3,500 jobs as part of plans to permanently close all its meat, fish and deli counters, as well as some of its Argos stores.

It has not said how stores in Northern Ireland will be impacted - there are 13 stores here.

It came as the UK's second largest supermarket firm posted a pre-tax loss of £137m for the past year, after being hit by £438m in one-off costs related to store closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

SDLP MLA Sinead McLaughlin, the vice chair of Stormont's Economy Committee, said she will request an urgent meeting with representatives of Sainsbury's.

"Sainsbury's announcement today of plans to cut 3,500 jobs and the closure of hundreds of Argos stores will have a devastating impact on local workers," she said.

Staff in stores across Northern Ireland have gone the extra mile to keep people safe over the course of the pandemic. They deserve much better than this."

The grocer said the closure of the specialist counters is part of efforts to "better reflect customer demand" and will save the business around £60m.

It also said roles will go with the imminent closure of 120 Argos stores, which is part of a strategy to shut 420 standalone Argos branches over the next three-and-a-half years.

There are 20 Argos stores in Northern Ireland.

The long-term plan will leave it with around 100 standalone stores as it accelerates the launch of more Argos stores and collection points in Sainsbury's locations.

Sainsbury's has said growth across the business will result in the creation of thousands of new jobs, with the company expected to see a net increase of 6,000 permanent roles this year despite the latest cuts.

Belfast Telegraph