Sainsbury's workers face ‘robbing Peter to pay Pau...

Sainsbury's workers face ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ pay offer, warns Unite

06 March 2018

Thousands of workers at supermarket giant Sainsbury’s face ‘a robbing Peter to pay Paul’ pay offer, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 6 March).

Unite said that that the firm’s proposal to increase pay to £9.20 an hour for workers at Sainsbury’s 1,400 stores from September would be eroded  by such ‘strings’  as removing premium pay for Sunday working. The normal current rate is £8.00 an hour.

Unite will be holding a consultative ballot of members across the UK from the end of March, with a recommendation to reject.

Unite acting national officer for food and drink Bev Clarkson said: “We are in a classic ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ situation, which we don’t think will benefit our members in the long-run.
“Sainsbury’s has announced its intention of increasing the basic rate of pay to £9.20 per hour from September 2018. This would take their rate to the highest in the industry which Unite welcomes as a positive move for our members. 

“However, 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.

“We are recommending rejection and will decide on the next steps after our members have expressed their views in the consultative ballot, which should be known by the end of April.”

Unite represents more than 12,000 members working for Sainsbury's. In January, the company announced a managerial shake-up that could put thousands of jobs at risk – and Unite then called for no compulsory redundancies.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065. Email: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.