Sainsbury’s amends pay proposal for 130,000 store employees


Retail organisation Sainsbury’s has amended its pay proposal to increase base rates of pay for 130,000 store employees as a result of feedback from its staff consultation process.

Alongside the organisation’s internal staff consultation, Sainsbury’s is also receiving employee feedback via an ongoing online petition. The petition, organised by an affected Sainsbury’s employee and supported by member of Parliament Siobhain McDonagh, has received 104,593 signatures as of 10.00am on 22 May 2018. The petition asks Sainsbury’s to reconsider its original pay proposal, because the suggested contractual changes are estimated to adversely impact employee pay, despite the proposed pay increases.

In March 2018, Sainsbury’s originally announced plans to offer store employees pay increases totalling £100 million. This included increasing base pay from £8.00 an hour to £9.20 an hour for UK employees, or £9.80 an hour for staff based in zones one and two in London.

To fund the proposed pay increases, Sainsbury’s plans to implement numerous cost-saving measures to simplify business practices. This includes offering new contracts to all store employees that will remove employee bonuses, which are currently awarded on a non-contractual, performance-related basis, as well as remove paid breaks.

The proposed contractual changes will also change premium payments, amend productivity, flexibility and attendance standards, and streamline job roles to reduce 22 specific roles down to five.

Sainsbury’s intends to provide top-up payments over an 18-month period once the proposals are implemented, to protect employees from being adversely impacted by the pay changes.

If the proposed changes are accepted on the completion of a consultative ballot with employees, they will come into effect from September 2018.

The staff consultation process has led to Sainsbury’s introducing changes to the original pay proposal. This includes providing employees working across all London boroughs a location pay premium, increasing the proposed pay for online drivers and increasing the proposed pay for employees working between 12.00am and 5.00am.

Sainsbury’s will review its hourly pay rate again in March 2020.

Mike Coupe, chief executive officer at Sainsbury’s, said: “The aim of these changes is to make pay fair and consistent for everyone. At the moment, we have [employees] working side-by-side in store, doing exactly the same job, but being paid different amounts, depending on when they started working for us. That doesn’t seem fair. So we are proposing to move everyone onto the same contract, with the same terms and conditions and an increased hourly rate, which means that the vast majority of [employees] get a pay rise.

“So why the backlash? I do appreciate that, while most [employees] will get a pay rise, there are some who won’t. Let me reassure [employees] that we have thought very carefully about that. We have proposed top-up payments for an 18-month period to make sure that no [employee] earns less than they do today. And at the end of that 18 months, in March 2020, we will review the hourly rate again.

“These are meaningful changes that will have a real impact on our [employees’] pay and that will cost Sainsbury’s millions of pounds a year. But it’s been important to us that we listen throughout this process and respond to concerns along the way.”