Sainsbury’s to increase basic pay rate, remove Sunday working premiums

Sainsbury’s has announced a shake-up of working conditions for its employees, according to the Guardian. Staff are to receive a higher rate of basic pay but paid breaks and Sunday premium pay and an annual bonus are to be discontinued.

Some 130,000 workers in Sainsbury’s stores will be paid £9.20 per hour. The retailer claims this is equivalent to a rise of around 8% in annual pay, after accounting for the loss of a half-hour paid break in every eight-hour shift and a 15-minute paid break in seven-hour shifts.

However, non-managerial staff who currently benefit from annual performance-related bonuses could stand to lose out, along with longer-serving staff who are paid time and a half for Sunday shifts. The supermarket said those who would be affected negatively would be given top-up payments for the next 18 months.

Sainsbury’s said that it was investing £100m in higher pay for staff and that the vast majority would receive more under the new rules. Fow the last three years, staff have been given 4% pay increases.

London-based workers will be paid a basic rate of £9.80 per hour, which is less than Aldi pays in the capital and below the £10.20 independently calculated London living wage.

Simon Roberts, retail and operations director at Sainsbury’s, said: “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.”

However, union Unite said the move was a ‘classic “robbing Peter to pay Paul” situation’ and said it would recommend rejection to its members. The union criticised plans to give staff no further pay increase until 2020.