Cuts in Tesco staff will mean worse customer service

Tesco was in the news again last week and so of course, given my history with Tesco, I couldn’t let it go without comment!

Tesco announces cuts to its business what effects will it have on service?

#tescofail back to school sign over alcohol

Tesco announced last week that it was going to cut about 9,000 jobs. Well, the BBC announced it first jn their story Tesco counter cost cuts to hit 9,000 jobs, based on leaked information which said that the supermarket chain would be closing 90 counters and that bakeries would be using frozen dough. Tesco was then forced to issue a statement so that the BBC and others updated their stories.

The Tesco statement Building a simpler, more sustainable business said that “We expect that around 90 stores will close their counters, with the remaining 700 trading with either a full or flexible counter offer for our customers.” The supermarket giant is to make changes to stock management, reducing merchandising hours through simplification of layouts, changes to canteens and changes to make the head office leaner. Ultimately the changes will result in a loss of 9,000 jobs.

The statement says that Tesco colleagues have told them that they want to spend more time with customers. However in the same paragraph the company says it is reducing “the amount of layout changes we make, so it’s easier for customers, and less work for colleagues meaning fewer merchandising hours are needed.” In short, that’s not freeing up staff to serve customers is it?!

Backdrop to Tesco cuts

In the Tesco 3Q & Christmas Trading Statement 2018/19 CEO, Dave Lewis, said

photo of Dave Lewis“In the UK we delivered significant improvements in our competitive offer and this is reflected in a very strong Christmas performance which was ahead of the market. And “… as we enter our Centenary we are in a strong position.”


The company made 1.3 billion profit in 2017-2018 So why the cuts? Are they necessary? What will they mean for staff and customers? Is greed seeping into Tesco once again? In my blog article “The Real Reason Clarke was pushed” I explored how the previous CEO, Phillip Clarke, didn’t keep his eyes on his customers. Instead of watching his home market he went on a development spree round the world whilst in the UK Tesco kept losing money. Lewis’ answer was to close loss-making branches abroad and cut development of some planned stores in the UK. Jobs went from head office and one of the company’s larger offices closed down as staff relocated to the head office complex at Welwyn Garden City. Lewis has overseen a turnaround in Tesco’s fortune as customers return in their thousands. Is he now going too far in the other direction and losing sight of what customers want? Why risk what is going on at shop floor level where customers will be adversely affected? They weren’t affected directly by previous cost cutting activities but they will be with these changes. If cuts are really needed (and that is clearly questionable) should they not be evenly distributed across the whole business?

What will the Tesco cuts on the shop floor mean for staff?

Well, Tesco say that they “will be doing all [they] can to help colleagues affected by these changes, including offering redeployment opportunities wherever possible.” With a planned cut to 9,000 jobs, redeploying them all is unlikely.

Are all Tesco staff employed on an equal basis?

Nope. Whilst staff will see job losses it seems there are no plans to cut the salary or benefits for any members of the executive team. If there is a need to cut because there isn’t enough profit then why are those in charge being paid as if they were continuing the success? Is it because of greed from shareholders seeking more from the firm in dividends?

What will the cuts mean for customers and what will be the impact on Tesco?

It’s too early to tell, but other supermarkets will be watching with keen interest. Tesco say that it is cutting the counters because there is less interest in them in recent years. That’s probably due to the increase in online shopping. However, with all this cost cutting, presumably to try and compete with the discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, will Tesco just become one and the same? What happened to having a good range, good price and good service? Even if they can’t compete with the higher end supermarkets, such as Waitrose, why not fight for the top of the middle market? Is it a fight to the bottom? It looks to me like a short-term quick fix where the aim is to maximise profits regardless of quality and see what happens. It doesn’t look like a well thought-out plan.

Perhaps Tesco should be a bit more innovative and open up those counters to the local butchers and bakeries? Just rent out the space whilst offering more choice and helping local businesses. There are plenty of other ways of saving money and introducing innovative improvements to customer services rather than cut, cut, cut.

Tesco risks losing the goodwill of customers. It is going to harm employee relations without a doubt and could therefore damage the public image of Tesco. Tesco should be celebrating its centenary this year and laying off 9,000 loyal staff is not the kind of birthday present the company should be giving itself

What’s needed is more service, and less greed!


Complaining about goods and services – all you need to know

Consumer rights and how to use them when complaining about goods and services

There are loads of posts on complaining about goods and services on the blog. Here for ease are links for you to find the information most relevant to your issue.

Using consumer law to complain about goods

A Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – the main law covering faulty goods and services

What you need to know about the Consumer Rights Act 2015 digital content additional information

How to use the Misrepresentation Act 1967 all areas of the Act

The Acts of law protecting you from poor service & faulty items particularly useful for items and services purchased before 01 October 2015

Stories about using consumer rights to complain about goods

When flowers aren’t delivered: What to do a quick story regarding complaining flowers not delivered.

BHS customer care mistakes which made it look like it didn’t care! Although BHS is no more this story covers what you can do when a piece is missing from a product and you don’t want to take the item back, you want the piece!

How to beat Uncle Tom Cobley’s customer service a story of the rare occasion when it may be better to deal with the manufacturer

How to complain about an item over a year old and how not to be fobbed off

Rip Off Britain faulty goods

Complaining about services

A Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – the main law covering faulty goods and services

How to use the Misrepresentation Act 1967 all areas of the Act

The Acts of law protecting you from poor service & faulty items particularly useful for items and services purchased before 01 October 2015

Stories about using consumer rights to complain about services

How to get the cream (without being a clot!) a story of complaining about poor service when wanting a cream tea!

When flowers aren’t delivered: What to do a quick story regarding complaining flowers not delivered.

Not such an Easylife customer service a story about perseverance and complaining on principle

How to complain about deliveries

What happens when a business doesn’t prepare for a promotion story of how a delivery was late, then packaged badly causing damage. The claim.

Your rights, mail order, online and deliveries all you need to know regarding how to complain about purchasing items off premises

Deliveries ITV news with Martin Lewis, Helen Dewdney & Peter Handley

All you need to know about unsolicited goods what you need to know if you have received items that you didn’t order

Rip Off Britain shopping online

How to complain in different specific sectors

Electricity pylon Everything you need to know to complain about energy problems


All you need to know to make a complaint about energy  posts about your additional rights specific to the energy sector for various situations


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All you need to know about complaining to telecom providers  posts about your additional rights specific to the telecom sector for various situations



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All you need to know about booking/complaining about holidays/flights/travel posts about your additional rights specific to the travel sector for various situations


How to take complaints further

How to contact CEOs when and how to get contact details of CEOs and how to write a letter to a CEO

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): What it all means post that explains what it is all about and how you can use it.

Landing in court with Ryanair warning about using AviationADR when dealing with aviation complaints

Ombudsman Omnishambles and More Ombudsman Omnishambles the research reports looking at how some ADR schemes such as the one run by Consumer Dispute Resolution Limited which used to run The Retail Ombudsman and lost the title are being approved and monitored.

Rip Off Britain Independent reports

Tips on complaining effectively

Top 20 Tips How to complain effectively! Lots of tips and advice to making sure you always get what you are entitled to when you complain

Top 20 Tips for Complaining Effectively

How to write a letter of complaint a sample formal letter  of a complaint written regarding an issue with Sharps fitting a bedroom.

Everything everyone needs to know about call centres the secrets of how they work and how to beat them

What happens when a business doesn’t prepare for a promotion outlines how you can get to the front of the queue of complaints.

Why you suck at complaining (and what you can do about it) not good at complaining? The reason and what to do about it may be here!

Why you should write not ‘phone to complain effectively whenever you can you should write not phone, here’s why.

Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow BBC Breakfast TV Discusses How We Complain in the UK

7 Common fob offs that companies use to not give refunds! typical fob offs companies use to stop you asserting your rights and how to address them!

15 Great words to use in complaints helpful to use in those emails!

10 Types of Complainer Which Are You? check yourself out!

How to Complain Effectively

How to use social media to complain

The twitter symbol How not to complain on Twitter

Is social media an effective method for complaining?

5 ways how not to use Twitter to complain (and 5 ways how you should)


Questioning why you should complain

7 Questions you should ask yourself if you don’t complain!

Warning: How not complaining drives up fat cat profits!

Complaining in the EU

What did the EU do for consumer law? various consumer laws that cover you when shopping in the EU.

What to do when your flight is delayed – the full guide everything you need to know about delayed and cancelled flights, your rights and how to take matters further and a warning should you use AviationADR

Look East interviews Ryanair CCO and Helen Dewdney

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


For more advice, consumer laws and template letters GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!




Nearly everything you could ever need to make a complaint about anything!