Co-op creates 5,000 store-based jobs amid coronavirus outbreak

The Co-op is to create 5,000 store-based jobs in a bid to provide employment for hospitality workers who have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus crisis, the company announced.

The retail giant said it is simplifying its recruitment process so successful candidates can start work within days.

The supermarket chain said on Twitter they were "committed to supporting communities during this difficult time."

Permanent jobs will also be on offer at the Co-op's 2,600 stores across the country.

Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said: "The Co-op has a critical role to play in supporting our members, customers and colleagues, as well as the local communities that our stores sit at the heart of.

"Whilst our store and depot colleagues are working around the clock to ensure people have the essentials they need, we are all too aware that many people working in bars, pubs and restaurants are currently out of work."

The Co-op is recruiting 5,000 people amid the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: PA

Ms Whitfield said: "It makes perfect sense for us to try and temporarily absorb part of this highly skilled and talented workforce who are so adept at delivering great customer service, as we work together to feed the nation.

"We're talking to a large number of organisations whose workforces have been affected by this situation.

"To anyone in this position who is looking for a job in one of our stores, our message is simple - please get in touch now."

She added: "What we need now is genuine, tangible co-operation as we look to support the wider economy and help the nation overcome this challenging period."

Meanwhile the number of people who have died after contracting Covid-19 in England has risen to a total of 128.

A partial shutdown of the London underground also started on Thursday as up to 40 stations were closed "until further notice".

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know