Sir Ken Morrison has responded to job cuts at Morrisons

Former Morrisons chairman Sir Ken Morrison has labelled job cuts at the retailer “disappointing”.

“[It’s] very disappointing and I feel for them all because they’ve been in their jobs quite a long time. A lot of them are good friends of mine,” Sir Ken told BBC Look North yesterday.

“Always breaking a team up is disappointing,” he added. “Whilst I was there it was always full of change, but you can do it sympathetically. And it’s important to a lot of people that their livelihood is secure.”

Morrisons announced 2,600 redundancies yesterday in a move towards what it called a “simpler management structure”.

“These changes will improve our focus on customers and lead to simpler, smarter ways of working,” said CEO Dalton Philips. “We know that moving to the new management structure will mean uncertainty for our colleagues and we will be supporting them through the process.”

Morrisons said it would promote 1,000 staff into new duty manager roles as part of the restructuring, and would look to offer “displaced colleagues” jobs in the new stores it planned to open this year, including M Local convenience stores.

Sir Ken stepped down from the day-to-day running of the supermarket in 2006. His family still owns a 9% stake. Referring to his “sincere” but “critical” comments at the Morrisons AGM earlier this month, he said: “How they were received I’m not quite sure, but there are certain things that need doing in the business and I think I outlined them pretty fairly at the AGM.”

Sir Ken called on the company’s senior management to visit their stores as members of the public. “Go and shop in your shop and have a look at it. Talk to the people, talk to the customers and don’t make presidential visits to places,” he said.