Tesco recruitment drive could mean hundreds more permanent jobs in Northern Ireland

People queue outside a Tesco store in March. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Ryan McAleer

TESCO could add hundreds of jobs in Northern Ireland under plans to recruit 16,000 permanent new roles to support the "exceptional growth" of its online business.

Tesco has more than doubled its deliveries to online customers since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March.

The UK-wide recruitment drive will include 10,000 roles for pickers, who select items for customer orders, and 3,000 delivery drivers.

The grocery giant remains the north’s largest direct private sector employer. Data collected by the Equality Commission put its staff here in 2018 at 10,598.

If the jobs are sourced on a proportional basis across its UK and Ireland operation, it could mean as many as 500 jobs for the north.

The retailer will also hire staff for a variety of other roles across its stores and distribution centres in the coming weeks and months.

The 16,000 jobs are in addition to around 4,000 permanent jobs already created since the start of the pandemic.

The majority of the roles will be filled by staff who have joined the company on a temporary basis in recent months.

Around 47,000 temporary staff joined Tesco at its peak during the pandemic, although it is understood that most of these roles have since ended.

Tesco’s 2020 annual report confirmed that the average number of employees across its UK and Ireland operation was cut by almost 25,000 from 344,117 in 2019 to 319,303 for the year ending February 2020.

In July, Tesco announced that it plans to close its Metro store on Belfast’s Royal Avenue when the lease expires in late 2021.

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