Sainsbury's faces union opposition to pay shake-up
6 March 2018, 13:44
Sainsbury's is facing opposition to a pay shake-up it says will give its 130,000 store staff a "leading rate" in the sector.
It said that, from September, it would increase its basic rate of pay above national living wage levels - by £1.20 an hour to £9.20 and £9.80 in London.
But it confirmed the pay rise would mean the end of its discretionary annual bonus and paid breaks - admitting its changes could result in a "small" number of workers losing out financially.
To compensate, the company said those affected would get top-up payments for 18 months but it insisted the vast majority would be better off.
Unite described the wage proposals as "classic robbing Peter to pay Paul".
The union urged its 12,000 members to reject the supermarket chain's reforms during the current consultation process.
Sainsbury's said it amounted to a £100m investment.
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Its retail and operations director, Simon Roberts said: "The retail sector has never been more competitive and we know that our customers really value our colleagues and the excellent service they provide in our shops.
"Which is why we think it is so important to invest further in our colleagues so they feel rewarded and motivated to do the best possible job for our customers every day.
"We expect the best from our teams and that's why we're committing to a leading rate of pay. Great pay for great work.
"Together with our recent proposals to change our management structure in stores, we believe the proposed changes will set us up to run the best shops in the industry, delivering the best possible service for our customers."
The pay shift forms part of wider reforms which will see all 130,000 store staff have to agree new contracts.
That element included a simplification of store roles from 22 currently to five to boost productivity.
Unite welcomed the proposed high pay rate but argued there were too many strings attached.
Its acting national officer for food and drink, Bev Clarkson, said: "There will be no further increase in salary until 2020 and given what our members have been asked to give up in return for this headline rate, the overall package doesn't look that attractive.
"Our members will have to make a number of sacrifices to secure this rate of pay, which includes the removal of paid breaks and Sunday premium pay, as well as a number of changes to the attendance policy.
"Unite believes these strings will offset any rise in basic pay."
The shopworkers' union Usdaw said: "Consolidating pay can benefit staff, but we want to check the effects on all
(c) Sky News 2018: Sainsbury's faces union opposition to pay shake-up