Sainsbury’s will increase pay for Sainsbury’s and Argos store employees in outer London, becoming the first major supermarket to pay the real living wage and London living wage to all its store workers.

Sainsbury’s said the “vast majority” of its store colleagues have received at least the real or London living wage since last month. From May 1, store workers in outer London will see their hourly pay increase from £10.50 to £11.05.

The move follows a £100m investment in employee wages in January when Sainsbury’s began to offer a basic hourly pay rate of £10 per hour.

The grocer has increased store employee pay by 25% since 2017, while Argos store staff pay has risen by 39% since 2017. Sainsbury’s has also removed any age-related pay.

The decision follows calls from Sainsbury’s investors last month for the grocer to pay the real living wage to all staff and third-party contractors. It joins other retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Lush in the pledge to pay real living wage. 

Sainsbury’s also offers a 10% discount to store staff on shopping at Sainsbury’s, Argos and Habitat. This discount increases to 15% every payday for a period of five days, saving employees an estimated £300 a year, according to Sainsbury’s.

Chief executive Simon Roberts said: “Our strategy is about investing in what matters most for both customers and colleagues. We know times are tough for everyone. That’s why we were one of the first in the industry to pay over the real living wage at £10 per hour and brought forward the announcement of our annual pay review to early January, as we wanted to help colleagues plan and manage the cost of living in the year ahead.

“We are proud to pay the real living wage and the London living wage in inner London and we have been spending a lot of time considering how we can help our customers and our colleagues as the cost of living crisis intensifies. We are always looking at what more we can do and have therefore decided to increase pay rates for outer London to £11.05 so that Sainsbury’s and Argos retail colleagues are paid the real living wage and London living wage from May.

“We will continue to listen to the views of all our stakeholders as we balance delivering for customers, colleagues, communities and shareholders. We are committed to paying above the national minimum wage and, when setting pay each year, will consider the real living wage, London living wage, the national living wage, competitor pay and the financial performance of the business.”

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