EMPLOYEES at a Radcliffe supermarket fear their jobs may be axed as the company looks to make redundancies or dramatically reduce working hours of staff.

Asda is looking to cut costs and has commenced a three-week consultation period with 3,257 employees across the country.

They include the 213 staff at the Radcliffe Riverside Retail Park store which has been identified as amongst 18 under-performing supermarkets in the group. It has been targeted as being overstaffed when compared to sales performance.

Once the consultations are complete, the supermarket chain is expected to announce hundreds of job losses across the country.

Asda employs 165,000 workers in 645 stores nationwide but under the proposals, no closures are being planned.

The supermarket is also reportedly looking at savings in 59 other branches, but rather than make redundancies, they hope staff will agree would work in different departments when required.

Workers union GMB has said it has been contacted by Asda staff who were ‘fearing for their jobs’ after store managers were given new business plans that include major reductions in working hours.

Gary Carter, national officer of the GMB union, said: "GMB is in consultation with Asda over the situation and is currently in discussion with senior management."

A spokesperson for Asda, said: “We are currently in discussions with a number of our stores about changes that are needed to the number of hours required to run that store for our customers, including 213 staff at our Radcliffe store.

“It is common practice for a supermarket to need to make changes to hours based on the changing shopping habits of customers.

“We understand that any conversations about change are unsettling but it is always our upmost priority to find alternative roles or working patterns for impacted colleagues.”

Cllr Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, said: “Obviously it is a concern to hear the news about the consultation happening at Asda.

“However, as I understand it, there is no chance that the Radcliffe store will close.

“Radcliffe is still a very desirable place for new enterprise, as we have seen recently with the new Lidl superstore that will be opening in a few months.

“Bury Council will continue to monitor the situation closely and offer any support that they can.”

The news comes a week after Asda reported a disastrous 2016, with full year results filed at Companies House revealing a 19 per cent crash in pre-tax profits to £791.7 million and a 3.2 per cent drop in total sales to £21.7 billion.

It is its worst annual figures since being taken over by Walmart in 1999.

Asda is not the first major supermarket chain to announce cuts, with Sainsbury’s and Tesco also announcing job cuts in the past few weeks.