Sainsbury’s has been accused by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh of using the recently announced staff pay rises as a “smokescreen” to cut benefits.
Earlier this week the UK’s second largest grocer announced it would be raising the its basic rate of pay for all 130,000 staff members from £8 per hour to £9.20 per hour.
Although this would be the highest pay rate per hour of any UK grocer, Sainsbury’s has drawn criticism for slashing paid breaks and premium pay for unsocial working hours.
In a letter sent to Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe, McDonagh stated: “How is it reasonable for an employer in the 21st century not to pay their staff for their 15-minute break if they are doing a full seven-hour shift?
“Staff who have dedicated their lives to your organisation and are extremely loyal towards it will lose out most in these shocking proposals.
“I am dismayed that a company of Sainsbury’s reputation would treat its most dedicated long-term staff in this matter.”
In response to the letter Sainsbury’s said it looked forward to “explaining to Siobhain how we are investing over £100m in our store colleagues.
“This brings our base rate to an industry-leading £9.20, which represents a 30 per cent increase in our colleague base rate over the past four years.”
McDonagh has been a fierce and vocal opponent of organisations administering pay changes, having led a campaign in 2016 against Marks & Spencer’s proposed pay changes.
She also led a Christmas campaign called “Christmas Living Rage” in which she criticised retailers who used the National Minimum Wage rises to cut staff benefits.