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UNITE has warned that Sainsbury’s workers will have to give up paid breaks, their spring bonus and premium pay for Sunday working if they accept the supermarket’s pay offer.
Bosses plan to increase the basic rate of pay by £1.20 an hour to £9.20 and £9.80 in London from September (the living wage stands at £8.75, £10.20 in London).
Sainsbury’s said it will be investing £100 million in its employees this year, funded by cost savings.
But Unite acting national officer for food and drink Bev Clarkson warned that workers are faced with a “classic ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ situation.”
The union, which represents more than 12,000 Sainsbury’s workers, is recommending its members reject the proposals in a consultative ballot of members that should be completed by the end of April.
Ms Clarkson welcomed the supermarket’s intention to increase its basic rate of pay, which would represent “the highest in the industry.”
But she added: “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. We will be holding a consultative ballot of our members at the end of the month.”
Shopworkers’ union Usdaw said the pay rise was “welcome news” for members working in Sainsbury’s.
But national officer Joanne McGuinness also sounded a note of caution, saying: “We will be looking closely at the whole deal, as we understand the company are proposing some contractual changes.
“Consolidating pay can benefit staff, but we want to check the effects on all individual workers.”
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