morrisons staff checkout

Announcing a 20% pay rise for more than 90,000 staff should have been a huge PR coup for Morrisons this week. Finding £40m to lift the lowest-paid into the (real) living wage is quite an accomplishment given its ongoing trading woes.

But timing is everything. And in this case Morrisons PR team have got it wrong. Not only did the retailer wait until the calm after the media storm of the Chancellor’s National Living Wage - when pay was on every paper’s front page - it allowed Lidl to steal its thunder, too.

Morrisons says the move had been on the cards for several weeks, but following on from the discounter’s living wage commitment two weeks ago, Morrisons has once again been upstaged, with its announcement tucked away in the business pages.

In addition, to fund the basic £8.20 hourly rate, it scrapped Sunday pay, paid breaks and overtime rates. It also won’t match Lidl’s London weighting of £9.35 per hour.

In an apparent race to win the wage wars, Morrisons has tripped and tumbled over the finish line behind its rival, when it could’ve gone away with gold.