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Sainsbury's staff to get pay rise but lose paid breaks and bonuses

Sophie Christie
Sainsbury's has announced a shake-up of its pay structure - John Stillwell/PA Wire

Sainsbury's is giving with one hand and taking away with the other in a shake-up of its pay structure that will see staff receive a 15pc basic pay rise but lose out on other remuneration.

Around 130,000 shopfloor staff across Britain will be paid £9.20 an hour, or £9.80 in London, from September of this year. The current basic hourly pay for employees is £8. 

However, while basic pay will increase for the majority of staff, some will be "adversely impacted", the grocer said, as it is offsetting pay increases by axing 15 and 30-minute paid breaks, premium pay on Sundays and annual bonuses. Taking these cuts into account, the overall impact of the pay shake-up will be an 8pc increase in pay for staff. 

Sainsbury's said these employees would be supported with "top-up payments" for 18 months to "ensure that no colleague earns less than they do today during this time".

The supermarket chain said it was spending £100m on improving pay, which follows three consecutive years of giving store staff a four per cent pay increase.

"Sainsbury’s will fund the pay increase through ongoing cost savings within the business," it said.

Simon Roberts, Sainsbury’s' retail and operations director,  said that it was "important to invest further in our colleagues so they feel rewarded and motivated to do the best possible job for our customers every day". 

The new basic pay is significantly higher than the legal minimum wage of £7.50 for over-25s and £7.05 for 21- to 24-year olds. It's also higher than £8.85 per hour wage paid by budget rival Aldi, although the German chain does pay employee breaks. Lidl pays its staff £8.75 per hour.

Customer shopping in Sainsbury's supermarket

Sainsbury's said all store staff would be put on new contracts “ensuring consistency and fairness across all stores, regardless of age or length of service”.

In January, Sainsbury’s warned of the "challenging" retail environment after it posted record Christmas food sales, but a slump in general merchandise sales.

The retailer blamed the dip on no longer having sales from 100 Argos stores in Homebase shops following its £1.1bn takeover of the business in 2016. The company also highlighted that Argos’s toy business had faced “particular challenges” as shoppers scaled back their spending.

Sainsbury's was commended on Monday after a Twitter user praised the supermarket for its treatment of his shop worker mother, who has Alzheimer's. He said the retailer continued to employ her despite her deteriorating condition, giving her a "sense of self-worth and pride, [which] has undeniably helped with aspects of her Alzheimer's", he said.