Sainsbury's staff

Sainsbury’s said the move will give 121,000 store colleagues an average pay rise of 9.3%

Sainsbury’s has confirmed it is increasing its hourly base pay rate from September.

The supermarket announced its £110m investment in boosting the rate from £8 an hour to £9.20, and £9.80 for those in London’s zones one and two, in March, and has since been in consultation talks.

Sainsbury’s said the move will make it the highest paying retailer, giving 121,000 store colleagues an average pay rise of 9.3%. The retailer added the changes are intended to “rectify the unfairness of colleagues working side-by-side in store, doing exactly the same job, but being paid different amounts, depending on when they started working for Sainsbury’s.”

Other contractual changes being introduced are the removal of bonuses, paid breaks and paid overtime, alterations to productivity, flexibility and attendance standards, and streamlined and broader roles. These include moving from 22 specific roles to just five.

The original plans elicited concern from unions, campaigners and staff, as they will leave some employees with less take-home pay.

Sainsbury’s bowed to pressure last week and tweaked some of the changes as part of its consultation process with its employees and unions. These modifications include an additional 25p per hour for online delivery drivers and shop floor staff working in London outside zones one and two, after being initially excluded from the plans. CEO Mike Coupe has also confirmed a rise in the supplementary rate for night shift workers from £1.55 to £2.45 extra per hour.

Coupe previously defended the changes, confirming that top-up payments for employees out of pocket under the plans would ensure “no colleague earns less than they do today”.

These will be provided for 18 months following the implementation of the new rate. Sainsbury’s will then retain the base pay rate until its next pay review in March 2020.

While over 93% of store colleagues will see a pay boost, a minority will not benefit from the changes.

“I believe this is the right thing to do and am proud to be offering such a significant pay boost to over 120,000 store colleagues across the country,” said Sainsbury’s retail and operations director Simon Roberts. “This is in recognition of their hard work and dedication to providing our customers with best in class service every day. This also sets our business up for the future, ensuring we have a better-equipped workforce, fit for the future of retail. The changes we are introducing from September will make pay and contracts fair and consistent for all of our colleagues, in every store, regardless of age or length of service.”

Usdaw national officer Joanne McGuinness added that the union is “pleased to have moved the company on some elements”, but remains concerned that 7% of staff will not benefit from what is a substantial pay rise.

“Some staff could be worse off after the 18 months of top-up payments end in March 2020, and we will continue in talks with the company to try to mitigate that issue,” she said. “We now start a period of individual consultations with staff. Usdaw will be supporting members through that process and we will be writing to all our members to confirm the improvements reached during consultations.”