Workers at Sainsbury’s and Argos are to receive a pay rise under a £100 million investment in staff.
Basic hourly pay for store employees will increase by 5.3%, from £9.50 to £10 an hour, in recognition of the “extraordinary work” they do for customers.
The hourly rate for workers in inner London will rise from £10.10 to £11.05, and from £9.75 to £10.50 for those in outer London.
Pay rates for drivers are also being increased.
Sainsbury’s Groceries Online drivers will be paid £11.50 an hour, and Argos Fast Track Delivery drivers will get £11 an hour.
Around 150,000 members of staff are set to benefit from the new rates of pay, which exceed the National Living Wage and the voluntary Real Living Wage, and means that Sainsbury’s hourly pay has increased by 25% over the past five years, the company said.
Chief executive Simon Roberts said: “To kick off the new year, I am pleased that one of the first things we are doing is investing in our colleagues and lifting our basic hourly rate of pay to £10.
“We are making this significant investment to show our colleagues how much we value the brilliant job they do for our customers every day.
“It also reflects the significant progress we are making against our plan and to save money we can invest in lower prices, offer fantastic colleague service and make shopping convenient for customers.
“We have also listened to our colleagues and are enhancing our colleague discount scheme to help them plan their grocery spend and manage their shopping budgets better, which could save colleagues hundreds of pounds a year.”
Dave Gill, national officer of shopworkers’ union Usdaw, said: “This increase is one of the leading rates of the major supermarkets. It is a big step forward and shows that the company are 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.
“They provide the essential service of keeping the nation fed and deserve our support, respect and appreciation. Most of all they deserve decent pay and this offer is a welcome boost.”
The pay increases will come into effect from March 6.