JOBS at an Irvine supermarket are under threat after bosses announced a national shake-up of management structure which will see thousands of positions axed.

Sainsbury’s looks set to shed mostly management roles in a bid to save money as the grocery price-war with competition heats up.

Staff at stores across the country were told that it plans to axe the roles of deputy manager, department manager, team leader and store supervisor, a shake-up that puts thousands of jobs at risk.

The supermarket giant will replace deputy managers with a smaller number of operations managers.

Meanwhile, more junior management roles will be combined under the new title of customer and trading manager.

Despite the reshuffle, Sainsbury’s bosses have insisted the changes won’t affect the “overall headcount” of staff.

However for that to happen staff on management salaries would have to be willing to accept lower paid roles, but many of those affected are expected to opt for redundancy rather than accept a lower-paid job.

For team leaders and store supervisors, there is the potential to move from being paid by the hour to a salaried role.

The Times asked Sainsbury’s what the restructure would mean for the Irvine store, specifically, but they refused to give details on individual stores.

Simon Roberts, Retail and Operations Director of Sainsbury’s, said, “We’re proposing a store management structure that will deliver best in class leadership and, in many cases, will offer an improved reward package for new management roles.

“The proposals will introduce a more efficient and effective structure, designed to meet the challenges of today’s retail environment. They will deliver cost savings to be invested in our customer offer and in our colleagues as they continue to provide the very best service for our customers.

“Our intention is not to reduce overall headcount as a result of these proposals. “I appreciate this will be a difficult time for those affected and we will fully support our people through these changes.”

The news is the latest to hit the big supermarkets as they try to cut costs to compete with cut-price chains Aldi and Lidl who have moved in to the fifth and seventh place in the list of biggest UK chains.