Photo courtesy of Sainsbury's

Like other retailers, Sainsbury’s gives colleagues hourly pay boosts. Should UK government help, too?


Joining fellow supermarket chains in a quest to help their colleagues cope with rising costs and inflation, Sainsbury’s announced it is raising pay by 10% for frontline, hourly paid workers.

Sainsbury’s has increased pay by a total of 38% for those workers during the past six years, which includes the new infusion of £205 million and a £20 million boost back in October. It is also planning to give annual pay increases in February, far earlier than it typically does with colleagues. All of its workers will now earn at least £11 per hour.

“As well as doing all we can to keep prices low for customers, it’s our job to support our colleagues as they face rising costs,” said Simon Roberts, Sainsbury’s chief executive. “This is a massive investment that reflects the real challenges our people are facing right now. I’m really pleased that the progress we are making against our strategy means that we can continue to prioritise investing in colleagues to reward them for the fantastic service they deliver every day.”

One of the nice perks has been the allowance of free meals during shifts for workers and even discounts at Argos, which Sainsbury’s says will be extended for the next six months.

“We continue to work closely with Sainsbury’s on pay and these successive substantial increases make a significant difference to our members,” Dave Gill, Usdaw National Officer, said. “With the cost of living continually rising, we have kept open our dialogue with Sainsbury’s and we are pleased the business has responded so positively. These unprecedented additional pay awards, along with free food and additional discount will be appreciated by our members.”

Pay for both Sainsbury’s and Argos hourly retail colleagues will stand at £11 per hour for now and £11.95 per hour in London. The supermarket says its pay not only exceeds the new National Living Wage rates but is “the largest supermarket to pay colleagues above the Living Wage nationally and at the Living Wage in London.”

Still, with inflation sitting at more than 14% and with most of the colleagues across retail earning less than £14 per hour, affordability even those who will enjoy new raises in 2023 is a deep concern.

“The scale of the financial challenges facing all workers is immense and there still needs to be significant interventions from Government,” Gill said. “Even under their plan, energy prices will have still doubled in six months and look set to go higher. Along with other prices sky-rocketing the cost of living is simply unaffordable for far too many workers.”



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