The GMB trade union has said it is confident that job losses at variety store group Wilko can be kept to a minimum.

Retail Week revealed last week that Wilko has begun consultations with 3,900 store staff as it seeks to cut costs, but aims to create 1,000 new roles.

The value retailer is stripping out a level of supervision roles and those in consultation include stock supervisors, till supervisors and some assistant managers.

As part of the changes Wilko will create 1,000 new senior supervisor positions and “a significant amount of customer service roles”.

After a meeting with Wilko management yesterday, GMB officials said they were optimistic that the number of jobs lost may not be as many as feared.

GMB national officer Gary Carter said: “This was the first of many discussions we will have with the company.

“We all want to see Wilko as a thriving, sustainable business with a long-term future.

“It is important to ensure adequate staffing levels in their stores to maintain an acceptable level of customer service – and to make sure Wilko staff are paid the living wage.

“We are encouraging Wilko to look at alternative ways to save money, which protect existing job roles.

“It’s a hazy picture at the moment, but we will be looking at each store individually with Wilko.

“There are going to be redundancies, but we are very confident these can be reduced significantly from the thousands initially feared.”