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Sainsbury’s workers are set to have extra cash in their pockets after the supermarket heavyweight announced new pay rises and bonus payments.
Frontline employees at Sainsbury’s and Argos, which was bought by the grocer in 2017, are covered by the pay boost – which bosses said was the third one-off bonus payment since the pandemic struck in March last year.
Sainsbury’s staff currently earn £9.30 an hour and Argos workers get £9 an hour, but this will rise to £9.50 from March.
Staff at central London stores will see their hourly pay bounce to £10.10 per hour. A 3-per-cent annual bonus will also be paid, meaning a full-time worker will take home an extra £530.
The Sainbury's announcement comes after Lidl announced a £200 bonus for 23,000 UK workers, Aldi also revealed wages would rise to a minimum of £9.55 an hour and Morrisons said workers at its stores would take home at least £10 an hour from April.
Aldi said its decision earlier this year to raise wages made it the best-paying supermarket in the country. And last week, the German family-owned discount chain was named supermarket of the year by consumer group Which?
It received a five-star rating for value for money – the only supermarket to achieve this in the survey.
While it only received two stars for store layout and food quality, customers said price was the most important consideration when choosing where to shop. Marks and Spencer's came second while Waitrose was in third alongside Lidl and Tesco.
Supermarkets have seen their sales boom during the Covid-19 pandemic due in part to people spending more time at home. They have also remained largely unaffected by lockdown restrictions unlike pubs, bars and restaurants, which were forced to pull down their shutters again last year.
Sainsbury's said its latest pay rise for workers meant that remuneration had increased by nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) over the past five years.
Meanwhile, the bonus is the third since the start of the pandemic and means the company has handed out more than £100m in extra cash to workers.
A 10-per-cent payout was made between March and April last year and a second boost of 10 per cent for four weeks in November.
In March 2020, Sainsbury's also increased pay for store staff to £9.30 per hour, while pay for workers in central London – fare zones one and two – received £9.90 per hour.
Sainsbury's and other supermarkets had faced criticism earlier in the crisis when attention appeared to be focused on handing out dividends to shareholders from the extra profits generated during the pandemic.
But several companies later agreed to hand back cash saved from business rates holidays, increased remuneration, paid bonuses and agreed to Boxing Day holidays before making the dividend payments.
Additional reporting by Press Association