Morrisons (MRW.L) said on Wednesday it is set to become the first UK supermarket to guarantee pay of at least £10 ($13.70) an hour to all store staff, as supermarkets come under fire for how much their employees earn.
The new pay will start in April, when the minimum wage set by the government will rise from £8.72 to £8.91, and will mean “a significant pay increase” for nearly 96,000 Morrisons employees, the company said. For most, the pay rise is approximately 9%.
However, the pay rise is subject to a ballot opening on 27 January and closing on 7 February. The final results will be announced on 12 February.
Morrisons minimum hourly pay is currently £9.20 an hour.
Three quarters of the costs of the increase will be met by direct payroll investment and a quarter by changing the discretionary annual colleague bonus scheme, the retailer explained.
CEO David Potts, who reportedly earned £4.2m last year, said the move was “a symbolic and important milestone that represents another step in rewarding the incredibly important work that our colleagues do up and down the country.”
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Joanne McGuinness, Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers’s national officer, said the announcement was “a big step forward, shows that Morrisons is prepared to invest in the staff to help grow the business.”
“It’s been a tough time for food retail staff who have worked throughout the pandemic in difficult circumstances,” she added.
In addition to the hourly pay increase, Morrisons will pay a London weighting (an allowance designed to help key workers with the high cost of living in London). Rates for inner London will be 85p and for outer London 60p per hour. This is an increase on Morrisons’ previous 75p inner London and 50p outer London hourly weighting.
Earlier on Wednesday, a report by Citizens UK slammed supermarkets, revealing that almost half (45%) of all workers at major retailers including Morrisons, along with Tesco (TSCO.L), Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) and Ocado (OCDO.L), paid their workers less than the “real living wage” in April 2020.
The study said some 410,000 supermarket workers earned below the real living wage, which currently stands at £9.50 ($12.94) per hour in the UK outside of London and £10.85 per hour inside of London.
According to the Living Wage Foundation, the real living wage is the only UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by 7,000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a wage which meets everyday needs, like the weekly shop.
Citizens UK noted December was a record month for British supermarkets, with shoppers spending nearly £12bn, the highest Christmas trading result on record, hinting that they can afford to pay their workers more.
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