TRADE union bosses have blasted claims made by supermarket giants Tesco that a proposed new store in Paisley will create 600 jobs – and insisted the multi-million pound development would be bad news for the town.
Tesco has applied to Renfrewshire Council for permission to build a huge new supermarket in the Wallneuk area and say their plans will create 400 full-time and 200 part-time jobs in Paisley.
But the Paisley and District Trades Union Council has warned that, if the Wallneuk plans are given the green light, it will make Tesco the dominant supermarket chain in Renfrewshire and beyond.
The company runs an existing store in East Lane, Paisley, and also has large stores in Renfrew, Barrhead and at the Silverburn shopping centre.
Tesco are also to open a new supermarket in Linwood, breathing new life into the town’s dilapidated shopping centre in the process.
But the Paisley and District Trades Union Council is concerned about the impact a new Tesco at Wallneuk would have on other businesses. The organisation claims Tesco already has more than 30 per cent of all UK grocery trade and is twice the size of the next biggest supermarket chain, Asda.
A spokesman for the Paisley and District Trades Union Council said: “Tesco’s avowed aim is to double in size but monopolies are bad news for employees, suppliers and customers.
“Retail spending and the population in Renfrewshire are dropping, so the total number of shop jobs will also fall. All that the new Tesco store would be doing is taking custom away from other supermarkets and from town centre shops and more of their staff would be laid off than Tesco would take on.
“Tesco is also reducing its staffing levels by introducing more self-scan checkouts in its stores, with some having no checkout staff at all.”
However, Tesco’s corporate affairs manager in Scotland, Jennifer Duncan, said: “The reality is 600 people will get a job if the new Tesco store at Wallneuk gets the go-ahead and many of those jobs could go to people who have been long-term unemployed.
“A lot of people could be taken off the dole to work at Tesco Wallneuk and gain the benefits financially and socially of having a job.
“When was the last time and when in the foreseeable future is that kind of employment opportunity going to come to Paisley?
“And how are the people who object to the Tesco store at Wallneuk going to come up with an alternative to the 600 jobs and the wages that would be paid to the people who will be employed at the proposed supermarket?
“The facts are the spending power of the population of Renfrewshire have been increasing by four per cent annually for the past decade.
“The problem has been people have been spending that money in places other than Paisley. The overall effect of a new Tesco at Wallneuk will reverse that trend and retail spending in Paisley will increase by £48million a year. That can only be good news for Paisley.”
She added: “To suggest a store the size of Tesco Wallneuk won’t have any checkout staff and staffing levels are being reduced because a handful of self-scan checkouts are in stores to make life easier is ludicrous.
“What’s at stake here is the opportunity for 600 people to get a job and for Paisley to benefit by the new store attracting tens of thousands of people every week to the town who would normally go elsewhere to do their shopping.”
A spokesman for Renfrewshire Council said: “We expect Tesco’s planning application to go through the planning process in due course.”