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10 March 2021

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Sainsbury's pay offer shows future will only be 'great pay' if we fight

Sainsbury's, photo Elliot Brown/CC

Sainsbury's, photo Elliot Brown/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Bernard Davies, Sainsbury's Usdaw shop steward (personal capacity)

In September 2018, Sainsbury's 'Band 2' workers were offered a contract that claimed "the future is great pay" as one of its "destinations". Only it wasn't an offer, it was an ultimatum: accept the changes to your contract or leave our employment.

Sainsbury's contract followed similar moves made by all of the 'big four' retailers. The contract, initially, claimed to offer an "industry-leading rate of pay" but removed benefits such as shift premium pockets, annual bonuses, and paid breaks. On completion of a "listening exercise", Sainsbury's claimed that the base rate was more important to its workers.

At the required consultation with the trade unions, Sainsbury's claimed that, in the future, it would be putting as much into the base rate as possible. The initial offer was 9.20 per hour (take it or leave it).

It is now widely accepted that the 'big four' food retailers are among those that have benefited most from the Covid-19 pandemic. And that retail sector workers have been key to keeping the country fed.

The 2021 pay offer of 20p an hour (2.15%) means that, since September 2018, Sainsbury's Band 2 workers have received an increase of 30p (3.26%) on the initial "industry-leading" base rate of pay. That's just over 1% per year. An insult to the hard work of Sainsbury's employees.

In contrast, and following negotiations with Usdaw, the offer of 10 per hour by Morrison's to its employees, although far short of the 12 an hour wage Usdaw should be aiming for, begins to recognise the key worker status of retail employees.

It also exposes the partnership agreement Sainsbury's has with the major retail trade union, Usdaw.

Instead, Usdaw should be working with the other recognised union in Sainsbury's, Unite, to fight for pay to keep pace with the other supermarkets like Morrisons, by organising the collective strength of the workforce to challenge management's diktats. This is the only way Sainsbury's workers can be ensured of a future of, "great pay".

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In The Socialist 10 March 2021:


NHS pay

NHS pay - 15% now

NHS workers say: We are ready to fight Tory pay insult

Police disgracefully stop NHS pay protest


News

Super-deduction will help big business pay less tax

The 'old normal' meant poverty for young people


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Goodlord striker speaks out: 'workers have to fight for our skills to be appreciated'

Stop union busting on the buses: Reinstate Declan Clune and Moe Muhsin Manir

Sparks deskilling protests

Leicester university workers ballot for action against redundancies

Sainsbury's pay offer shows future will only be 'great pay' if we fight

PCS leadership failures lead to concession bargaining on pay

Manchester bus drivers' indefinite strikers fight on

London bus drivers continue walkout


Rosa Luxemburg

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The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Usdaw:

triangleUsdaw's virtual annual conference - a mockery of union democracy

triangleRetail workers desperately need a fighting and democratic union

triangleAsda equal pay ruling victory - now fight for equal pay for all

trianglePresident of 'big four' Labour-affiliated trade union joins TUSC committee

triangleUsdaw elections - right makes gains but Broad Left builds

Pay:

triangleNorwich City Council workers vote for strike action over broken promises on pay and conditions

triangleThurrock refuse workers strike escalates

triangleNational Education Union needs a socialist, fighting deputy general secretary

triangleRMT: Militant industrial and political strategy must be fought for

Workers:

triangleUnited action needed to defeat fire and rehire

triangleReaders' opinion

triangleHartlepool sums up Labour crisis

Retail:

triangleMorrisons - 10/hr headline hides divisive pay offer

triangleRyan Aldred: Why I'm standing for Usdaw's EC

Article dated 10 March 2021

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