LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Britain's biggest retailer, Tesco , is replacing 1,700 deputy managers at its "Express" convenience stores with lower paid "shift leaders" in a restructuring of the business, it said on Monday.
The supermarket group, which agreed a 3.7 billion pound ($4.6 billion) merger with wholesaler Booker last month, said it would abolish deputy manager positions at its 1,800 Express stores and instead create 3,300 shift leader roles.
It said the changes would result in a net increase of about 1,500 positions, increasing the number of staff serving customers on the shop floor.
This week, about 1,700 deputy managers will begin a 60-day consultation process and would be offered shift leader positions, alternative roles in other Tesco stores or redundancy.
"For any that do make the change from deputy manager to shift leader we'll be financially supporting them," a Tesco spokesman said.
In October, Tesco Chief Executive Dave Lewis set out a plan to earn between 3.5 pence and 4 pence of operating profit for every pound spent by shoppers by 2019-20, up from 2.18 pence now.
The plan was predicated on sales rising and operating costs being cut by 1.5 billion pounds through efficiencies in stores and its distribution network, as well as from procurement savings.
Last month Tesco proposed a shake-up of its distribution network that would result in the loss of a net 500 jobs.
Tesco is Britain's biggest private sector employer with a staff of more than 310,000. ($1 = 0.8057 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by David Clarke)