A Safeway spokeswoman said all of its 12 press office staff have opted to find other jobs rather than apply for a transfer to Morrisons’ communications department in Bradford.
Safeway’s marketing department has been similarly affected by the takeover, which will cause 1,200 redundancies over the next 18 months as the Safeway head office is closed down.
It has been speculated that Morrisons will take on new comms staff and continue to use Safeway’s retained PR agency Life Comms.
The news follows retail trade association British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) appointment of Safeway director of comms Kevin Hawkins as its director-general. Hawkins replaces Bill Moyes at the BRC. He has been a member of the BRC board of management since 1997 and beat more than 150 applicants to the post.
He will be expected to use his retail industry experience to raise the sector’s campaigning profile with the Government and the EU on issues including obesity, ethical trading and environmental and recycling legislation. He will have responsibility for more than 50 staff at BRC’s offices in England, Scotland and Belgium, reporting to chairman David Felwick and the BRC board.
‘We appointed Hawkins because he understands the relations between the BRC and its members,’ said BRC director of comms David Southwell. ‘He is also a seasoned political campaigner and will be able to defend the retail sector to the media.’