The editor voices his views on Moray’s most topical events of the past week…..
There have been times following my regular opinion pieces when I’ve felt an urge to circle the wagons around insideMoray to defend against hostile attacks from those offended, outraged or just plain mad.
Every possible insult has been thrown in my direction from council officials, politicians, disgruntled friends of those falling foul of the courts, rival news agencies – and, most recently, supermarket employees.
I tend to accept the vast majority of these as part of the challenge I accepted when laying the parameters for a community news source – one that could never be accused of being anything other than open and utterly unbiased.
It did, all the same, come as a major surprise when a simple cry for help sparked one of the most vitriolic series of verbal attacks I’ve ever experienced – even when employed in the football world where such things are expected.
I now fully recognise that there is a community called ‘Tesco’ where employees are very proud of their company – and will not have a bad word said against it.
Even, it would seem, as thousands of their number are being lined up for redundancy.
When insideMoray was approached by worried employees at the Elgin branch of Tesco, it was only because they felt nobody else appeared to care for their plight. Staff meetings had been arranged in Stores throughout the country – and as reported by us there was an uncertainty over their future.
Our report was simply highlighting that all was not well at Tesco, correctly reminding people that dozens of existing stores had already been closed entirely while a new CEO had been brought in, Dave Lewis, to turn around what was fast becoming a failing business.
The report on February 23 was actually a local angle on a story a week earlier when ‘The Grocer’ magazine had revealed that thousands of Tesco team leader positions were to be removed, with job holders either being demoted or facing compulsory redundancies.
Throughout the country Tesco has been undergoing a process that would slash their overheads by almost one-third. For a company of over 300,000 employees this is a massive series of changes that would inevitably lead to job losses – and the fears of staff at Elgin for their future was, therefore, a very valid and important story that had to be communicated.
Indeed, several local employees have contacted insideMoray to point out that they appreciated our highlighting their plight when others appeared to ignore it.
What has happened at Tesco is, without doubt, a disaster for thousands of employees around the country – 10,000 jobs are in the process of being axed, 6000 from their HQ and the 43 stores (including three in Scotland) being closed entirely.
As for the local situation it remains unclear just how this will affect Moray employees of the firm, although we have been informed by insiders that team leaders and department managers were to be “downgraded”.
We can only hope that the impact on communities in Moray is minimised as far as possible.