Pressure from investors over the cost of living has prompted Sainsbury’s to raise wages for the second time this year.
The supermarket has announced it will pay the Real Living Wage – the voluntary minimum wage for anyone over 18 which aims to reflect the real costs of living.
The move comes in response to pressure from investors under the ShareAction banner last month in what was believed to be the first shareholder resolution asking for a listed firm to seek accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.
Accredited employers must pay staff at least £9.90, or £11.05 an hour in London.
From 1 May, pay for Sainsbury’s workers in outer London will rise from £10.50 an hour to £11.05 an hour.
Simon Roberts, CEO of Sainsbury’s, said the supermarket wanted to help its workers as the “cost of living crisis intensifies”, adding: “We know times are tough for everyone.”
Investors including Legal and General and pensions scheme Nest backed the motion at Sainsbury’s AGM last month.
Meanwhile, the supermarket announced it would cut 300 roles across its food commercial, finance operations and HR departments. It said it would be outsourcing the jobs instead, with offices in Manchester, Holborn in London and Ansty in Warwickshire being affected.
Sainsbury’s decision to increase pay represents the second such rise in three months at the retailer. In January it upped pay for all its UK employees to a minimum of £10 an hour.
As the cost of living has risen other large employers have taken the decision to increase wages.
Tesco on 8 April said it would give a 5.8% pay increase to store and fulfilment centre workers in a pay settlement which will be reviewed again next year due to the uncertain economic environment.
The new pay deal takes the pay of the hourly-paid workers to £10.10 an hour from £9.55, following agreement with the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, and will take effect from 24 July.
Aldi and Lidl have already increased wages to at least £10 an hour as they try to retain staff and attract new employees in a difficult market for jobs.
Since 2017, Sainsbury’s has increased employee pay by 25%, while pay for Argos employees has increased by 39%.
Aldi remains the highest payer with shop floor assistants getting at least £10.10 an hour nationally and those within the M25 £11.55.