Sainsbury’s has rubber-stamped plans to invest £110m in a new pay deal for staff following a consultation with workers.

The supermarket giant said it had made “a number of improvements” to its original contract offer following talks with employees and unions.

The new contracts had sparked controversy, with the pay deal being criticised by some MPs who said the changes would leave thousands of workers worse off.

However, Sainsbury’s said the pay boost would make it the “highest paying retailer” in the UK and would ensure all store staff received “fair and consistent” pay and benefits, regardless of their length of service.

Sainsbury’s had already proposed increasing its hourly rate of pay from £8 to £9.20 per hour, alongside the removal of the colleague bonus and paid breaks, at a cost of £100m per year.

Extra £10m

Now the grocer will invest a further £10m after making a raft of improvements, including an increase to unsociable hour premium payments from £2.20 to £2.45 per hour and upping the boost online drivers will receive. They were initially due to get an extra 50p per hour, but will now be paid an additional 75p per hour under the amended deal.

London pay will also be extended to staff working in all outer London boroughs.

Sainsbury’s said that, as a result of the changes, more than 121,000 workers would receive a pay rise from September.

The grocer’s retail and operations director Simon Roberts said the pay increase was “the right thing to do” and “sets our business up for the future”.

Roberts added: “The changes we are introducing from September will make pay and contracts fair and consistent for all of our colleagues, in every store, regardless of age or length of service.”

However, he admitted that “a minority” of workers would not benefit from the changes.

Top-up payments

“We don’t want anyone to lose out and, for this reason, our plans have always included top-up payments for an 18-month period to ensure that nobody at Sainsbury’s will earn less than they do today,” Roberts said.

“At the end of the 18 months, in March 2020, we will review our hourly rate of pay again.”