Asda has launched a further round of cost-cutting under which more than 800 store staff may have their pay cut or be made redundant.

The Asda proposal would lead to the removal of 842 section leaders from store management teams, The Guardian reported.

Thousands more would be affected by reduced hours on duties such as shelf-stacking and tidying at Asda’s 600 supermarkets.

The initiative reflects Asda’s need to reduce costs as it seeks to “close the price gap” with growing value giants Aldi and Lidl, an internal document revealed.

It said: “We need to continuously review our operating model… being the cheapest of the big four is no longer a viable business model.

”We need to be able to look at ways to reduce our operating costs in order to close the price gap.”

The document revealed that about half of Asda’s 153 smallest supermarkets are not profitable and new approaches are needed which are “fit for the future and ensure the longevity of the format”.

A consultation has begun with affected staff.

Assuming the proposals are implemented next year, section leaders in fresh and packaged food aisles will lose their higher hourly pay rate and “management contribution” hours.

The document said: “We would explore redeployment opportunities, and only as a last resort, we would look at the possibility of redundancy with affected colleagues.”

The shopfloor changes are the latest in a series under chief executive Sean Clarke, who was drafted in to turn the retailer around.

Asda said: “These proposed changes are about making sure we’re doing the best job for our customers in the most efficient way possible.

“Whilst these are only proposals, we know talking about change is unsettling which is why we’re working with our colleagues to get their views before any final decisions are made early next year.”

Asda has already cut hundreds of jobs in 18 underperforming stores and asked staff in another 59 to work more flexibly. Almost 300 jobs have also been axed at head office.