A group of 100 MPs have called on prime minister Theresa May to intervene in changes Sainsbury’s is proposing to make to staff contracts.

According to Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, who is heading up the call, the changes will result in 10% of Sainsbury’s staff earning up to £3,000 less each year.

The recent changes to wages and employment terms, due to come into force in September, include hiking the hourly rate for shopfloor staff, stripping out bonuses and paid breaks, taking the number of in-store roles from 22 to five, scrapping Sunday premium pay and cutting the number of premium pay hours at night. 

Sainsbury’s admitted in March that “a small proportion” of workers “may be adversely impacted” by the changes and pledged to make “top-up payments” for 18 months to ensure no employees are left worse off during that period.

Despite this, McDonagh and others have called on May to speak to boss Mike Coupe to “ensure that no staff will face a pay cut under his contract changes, showing a fraction of the loyalty to his staff that they have shown to him”.

MPs’ concerns follow a petition on change.org, made under the pseudonym Michelle Cooper, gathering more than 100,000 signatures.

Sainsbury’s response

Sainsbury’s has insisted that staff are better off under the changes.

Retail and operations director Simon Roberts said: “The changes are about having one fair and consistent contract for all colleagues. This isn’t the case currently and we have many examples of colleagues working side by side in store, doing the same job and being paid differently, depending on when they joined.

“We don’t believe that this letter accurately reflects how the vast majority of our colleagues are feeling. We have conducted meaningful consultation with around 100 colleague representatives and have made a number of changes to our original proposals based on their feedback.

“These changes mean that even more people will be better off; 93% of colleagues – well over 120,000 people – will now benefit immediately. For most colleagues that’s a pay rise of over 8%. And everyone is guaranteed to earn at least as much as they do today until March 2020. We will then review pay again in March 2020.”