09/03/2018 - Sainsbury's pay rise - read the fine print!

SainsburysThere is good news and bad news for workers at Sainsbury's. The supermarket’s 130,000 store workers to receive at least 9.20 an hour from September. The 9.20 basic rate of pay is above the government’s legal minimum of 7.50 for over-25s and 7.05 for 21- to 24-year-olds. It is also more than the independently calculated living wage of 8.75 an hour paid by rival Lidl and the 8.85 paid by Aldi.

Workers in London are less fortunate.Sainsbury’s new London rate of 9.80 an hour is lower than the independently calculated London living wage of 10.20, which is also Aldi’s minimum rate for the capital.

When you start to look at the detail, however, the deal starts to look bad. It's be two-year deal, with no further pay discussion until 2020. Workers will also be stripped of hard-won existing benefits - paid meal breaks, annual bonus and premium pay for Sunday working.

Patrick Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented: "It's an odd kind of pay rise when the workers are largely financing it."

Unite, which has 12,000 members working at the supermarket, welcomed the £9.20 basic rate of pay as a positive move. But the acting national officer for food and drink, Bev Clarkson, said: “We are in a classic ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ situation, which we don’t think will benefit our members in the long run.

“There will be no further increase in salary until 2020 and given what our members have been asked to give up in return for this headline rate, the overall package doesn’t look that attractive. 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.”