British supermarket group Sainsbury's said it would invest £200 million (€231.6 million) on raising the pay of 120,000 workers by more than 9% to a level above the new rate of the government-mandated national minimum wage.
Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury’s said, “Our colleagues do a brilliant job delivering for our customers every day and at the same time they are continuing to face the rising costs of living.
“So, in addition to investing to keep our prices low for customers, I’m delighted to confirm an industry leading pay increase again this year for all our hourly paid colleagues.”
National Living Wage
Britain's minimum wage, called the National Living Wage, will increase by 9.8% to £11.44 an hour from April 2024, making it one of the highest as a share of average earnings of any advanced economy.
Clive Black, head of consumer research at Shore Capital said that the raise "represents another clear commitment by Sainsbury's to invest in its human capital...".
Sainsbury's latest pay rise could catch the attention of the Bank of England, which is keeping a close eye on inflation pressures as it mulls the direction of interest rates.
'An Inflation Busting Pay Award'
Bally Auluk, USDAW National Officer stated, “The continuing strong working relationship between USDAW & Sainsbury's has resulted in an inflation busting pay award of over 9% despite inflation falling and following on from the significant pay increases over the previous couple of years.
“The current cost of living is still on the rise which is why USDAW are very pleased the business has taken this on board during our consultations and responded in such a positive manner, which includes continuing to offer free food and additional discount.”
The supermarket group is due to update on Christmas trading on 10 January. Industry data published on Wednesday showed it has performed well. Its shares are up 30% over the last year.
News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM.