More than 800 Sainsbury’s employees could lose their jobs due to the supermarket axing its store trainer role.

The supermarket’s 870 store trainer positions will be replaced with 280 learning and development manager roles.

Sainsbury’s said all store trainers, who are currently responsible for one store each, would have the opportunity to apply for the position of learning and development manager. This was a “more senior” role that aimed to “provide enhanced training support across a number of stores”, it said.

The supermarket added that it was consulting with all affected employees so could not forecast when the changes would come into force.

Trade union Unite branded the potential job losses “severely disappointing”. “Sainsbury’s seems to have deep pockets when it wants, as it has just forked out £1.4bn to purchase the Home Retail Group,” said Julia Long, Unite national officer for food and drink.