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Covid: Morrisons to make thousands of staff permanent

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Supermarket chain Morrisons is to make thousands of temporary staff permanent as a surge in demand for online deliveries due to the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The supermarket, which will also be taking on in-store staff, is expected to announce the move on Thursday.

Rivals such as Tesco have previously announced more hiring in response to coronavirus demand.

The move coincides with a rise in coronavirus cases in the UK..

The fourth-biggest UK supermarket had about 97,000 workers before the pandemic, and took on 45,000 extra temporary staff during the coronavirus crisis.

About 25,000 of those staff are still working for the supermarket, and more than 6,000 of those have already been given permanent jobs.

Morrisons is expected to announce on Thursday that it plans to make thousands more of those temporary positions permanent in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson said: “Morrisons has been playing its full part in feeding the nation and that has required the largest recruitment drive our company has ever seen.”

Online surge

Since March supermarkets have seen a huge increase in demand, especially for online deliveries. The pandemic speeded up a shift towards online shopping in many sectors, but especially for supermarkets.

Out of those 25,000 extra staff, Morrisons uses 9,000 to pick and deliver to deal with the surge in online demand.

As well as its own delivery service, Morrisons also partners Amazon and Deliveroo, and recently announced that customers could do a full Morrisons food shop on Amazon UK.

Extra staff have also been needed in Morrisons supermarkets to keep them running properly, and to make sure the supermarkets conform to coronavirus safety guidelines.

Virus demand

The closure of many High Street shops during the pandemic helped to drive up online sales, and for some firms that demand has continued.

Supermarkets in particular saw a huge rise in demand from March, albeit from a lower starting point than many other retailers, as customers strove to avoid face-to-face interactions to buy food, and as many restaurants closed their doors to eat-in customers during lockdown.

Rival Tesco said in August that it would create 16,000 new permanent jobs after “exceptional growth” in its online business.

Outside the grocery sector, online giant Amazon said last week that it would create a further 7,000 jobs this year to meet growing demand.

And in June delivery firm DPD and B&Q owner Kingfisher said they would be hiring thousands more staff.

However, despite some firms being favoured by the effects of the pandemic, many more thousands of people have lost their jobs.

And the pandemic which has helped create these conditions shows no sign of easing just yet. On Tuesday Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a “sharp rise” in UK coronavirus cases was “concerning”.

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