Sainsbury’s has announced that it plans to boost the base rate of hourly pay across its stores from £8 to £9.20 as part of a £100m investment plan.
The retailer on Tuesday said that in London, it will increase the hourly rate of compensation to £9.80. The pay rises will mean that Sainsbury’s has increased the base rate of pay by 30 per cent, from £7.08 per hour back in 2015.
“The retail sector has never been more competitive and we know that our customers really value our colleagues and the excellent service they provide in our shops,” Sainsbury’s retail and operations director Simon Roberts said. “We believe the proposed changes will set us up to run the best shops in the industry, delivering the best possible service for our customers.”
As part of the investment, Sainsbury’s said that it would offer all of its 130,000 store staff new contracts with the aim of ensuring “consistency and fairness across all stores, regardless of age or length of service”.
It said that it would streamline operations, by reducing the number of role types from 22 to five: trading assistant; food services assistant; online assistant; general merchandise and clothing assistant; and services assistant. I will also get rid of a discretionary bonus scheme for hourly paid workers, and paid breaks.
Some workers currently get a discretionary bonus that’s performance linked, though not all. Breaks had up until now been paid and while workers will still be entitled to take breaks in compliance with the law, those will no longer be paid. A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said that many other UK retailers already don’t pay staff for breaks.
The company said that “a small proportion of colleagues may be adversely impacted by these proposals” and that to support these it “plans to make top-up payments for 18 months to ensure that no colleague earns less than they do today during this time”.
A consultation on the proposed changes begins on Tuesday and will last over the coming months. If the plans are approved, staff will get the new rate of pay from September onwards, Sainsbury’s said.
Trade union Unite responded by saying that, for workers, the proposal does not look attractive.
“Our members will have to make a number of 'sacrifices' to secure this rate of pay which includes the removal of paid breaks and Sunday premium pay, as well as a number of changes to the attendance policy,” Bev Clarkson, the union’s acting national officer for food and drinks, said.
“Unite believes these ‘strings’ will offset any rise in basic pay. We will be holding a consultative ballot of our members at the end of the month,” she added.
“We are recommending rejection and will decide on the next steps after our members have expressed their views in the consultative ballot, which should be known by the end of April.”
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