Sainsbury’s wage win

Unite welcomes rise to at least £10 an hour, but urges more

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Unite has welcomed a decision by Sainsbury’s to pay its low paid staff at least £10 an hour – but reminded the company the increase was still too low to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Following annual pay consultations with Unite, Sainsbury’s has announced that from April store workers will get a 50p an hour rise to £10 an hour. Those living in central London and outer London will receive a 95p and 75p rise to £11.05 and £10.50 respectively.  

While Sainsbury’s London workers will receive at pay rise matching RPI inflation, running at 7.1 per cent, those in the rest of the UK will receive a rise of around 5.3 per cent. 

The Sainsbury’s group, including Argus, expects to bring in at least £720 million for the year ending March 2022. That is more than twice the £356 million the group brought in during its last 12-month period.

Unite national officer Bev Clarkson said: “Unite’s Sainsbury’s reps have long campaigned for a healthy pay rise for staff, so we welcome the news that all workers will now receive at least £10 an hour. The increase provided to staff outside of London, however, does not match RPI inflation – meaning workers’ wages will not keep up with rising prices. 

“Our members need wage rises above the current rate of inflation, as measured by the RPI, if they are not to be hit by the cost-of-living crisis. As its latest financial figures show, Sainsbury’s can well afford to pay this.”

Unite bases pay claims on the RPI figure of inflation rather than CPI because it better reflects the actual price rises experienced by Unite members. 

The latest Office for National Statistics figure was 5.1 per cent, while the ONS RPI figure is 7.1 per cent. Both CPI and RPI are expected to rise when the ONS updates them on 19 January.  

The union also welcomed an increase in shift premiums for delivery drivers. Groceries Online drivers will now get £11.50 per hour, with a basic rate of £10 per hour plus an extra £1.50 per hour.

Bev Clarkson said: “Unite has been pushing for Sainsbury’s driver shift premiums to be increased to reflect the difficulties of the job, so this is a welcome decision. 

“Unite is determined to ensure that the well-deserved gains for Sainsbury’s staff are improved upon as soon as possible.”

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