Tesco staff

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis has moved to reassure store staff as concern grows over his plans to slash management positions and axe the retailer’s pension scheme.

Lewis promised he would do all he could to minimise uncertainty among Tesco team leaders, whose roles are being phased out.

Speaking in a video address to staff, Lewis also vowed Tesco would replace its end-of-salary pension scheme with a defined contribution scheme that would be “very competitive.”

The Grocer revealed last week that as well as closing 43 stores, Tesco has decided on a national rollout of a controversial management restructure trialled last year at a group of stores in the East Midlands, which saw team leaders offered a redundancy package or a switch to lower-paid customer assistant roles.

Speaking in the same video, retail director Tony Hoggett defended the restructure. “We have had the current management structures for more than a decade and they’ve served us really well, but customers have changed and we need to change our structures.

“It’s absolutely not a code for job losses. In fact at a total level the headcount won’t change, and we will continue to invest in colleagues in store the same way as we have been doing for months now.” He promised all staff would know about their future by 1 March.

Lewis also stressed he planned to let staff know about changes with as little delay as possible.

“We want to do this in the most open, transparent and, dare I say it, quick way, because we want to reduce that period of uncertainty,” he said.

Tesco’s restructuring moves have been met with concern among Tesco staff. Commenting on The Grocer website, one member of staff demanded to know why strike action was not being considered.