Staff working in Co-op food stores have welcomed news they could receive a pay rise of at least 8.5% over the next two years.

The pay proposal, which will affect 60,000 Co-op shop assistants and supervisors, was announced this week by The Co-operative Employers Association - a bargaining body for co-op societies including The Co-op Group, Central England, Midcounties, Lincolnshire, Radstock and Chelmsford Star.

The proposal is worth in excess of £85m a year and will see minimum pay rates for a full-time employee increase by about £1,200 a year.

Staff on The Co-op Group’s employee Facebook page largely welcomed the news, though some expressed concern over proposed changes to sick pay.

“If I get a 10.5% pay rise I’m cartwheeling down the road stark naked,” posted one member of staff. Another wrote: “Well I would like to thank the Co-op for our fantastic 10.5%. This year alone the 8% will make a substantial increase to my monthly wage.”

Reacting to The Grocer’s online coverage, another tweeted: “Fantastic news for the people who matter most in a business - customer facing colleagues!”

The proposal will now be put to a ballot by Usdaw, with the result expected next month.

“This represents a step forward for staff and we are recommending that they vote for the deal,” said Usdaw national officer John Gorle. “I’m sure that, in the current cost of living crisis, our members will welcome this above-inflation boost to their pay.”