Sainsbury's has announced that it is investing over £100 million in its store staff this year, increasing the base rate of pay from £8 to £9.20 per hour, and to £9.80 per hour in the centre of London.
The UK's second largest grocer says that this brings its total increase in base pay to 30% over the past four years.
“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," said Simon Roberts, Sainsbury's retail and operations director.
“This 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."
In January, Sainsbury's announced plans to cut management positions across its convenience stores and supermarkets.
Now, along with the planned pay increases, the retailer is also bringing in a number of contractual changes for store staff.
Sainsbury's says that it stores will have broader, more streamlined roles, moving from 22 specific jobs to five - trading assistant, food services assistant, online assistant, GM and clothing assistant, and services assistant.
The supermarket operator is also removing bonuses and paid breaks, warning that a 'small proportion of colleagues may be adversely impacted by these proposals', but plans to make top-up payments for 18 months to ensure that staff do not end up earning less.
Sainsbury's says that consultation with employees begins today, and if the proposal are confirmed, the new rate of pay will be introduced from September 2018.
However, trade union Unite is recommending that its members reject the contract changes, describing the new proposals as "a classic ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ situation."
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.