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Sainsbury’s rewards staff for COVID crisis performance with 3% bonus

Written by on 26/02/2021

Sainsbury’s is to reward frontline staff with a 3% bonus for their efforts to serve customers during the coronavirus crisis.

The UK’s second-largest supermarket chain said the payout – worth £530 to a full-time worker – was a “one-off” in recognition of outstanding service.

The sector witnessed a stampede for goods from March last year as the UK prepared to enter its first COVID-19 lockdown, leading to widespread shortages of products such as toilet roll and flour as supply chains caught up with demand.

An elderly lady passes empty shelves in Sainsbury's supermarket as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Fulham, London, Britain March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
Image: An elderly customer is pictured passing empty shelves in a Sainsbury’s store last March

Sainsbury’s, which is only the second chain after Lidl to award a bonus, said staff at its supermarkets and Argos stores would also get a pay rise to £9.50 per hour from next month.

Staff at central London stores will see their hourly pay rise to £10.10.

The awards meant staff were taking home more than £100m more, Sainsbury’s explained, because workers had already received two other smaller bonus payouts.

The sector has been among the big winners of the pandemic as supermarkets have benefited from essential retail status while the major chains have also ramped up their online operations to meet unprecedented grocery delivery orders.

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That delivery shift has come at a price for some workers though as Sainsbury’s warned last November that 3,500 jobs could be lost at its supermarket counters and Argos stores.

Major chains moved to deflect criticism around higher dividends to shareholders from bumper sales by pledging to repay more than £2bn in business rates relief.

Retail and digital director at Sainsbury’s, Clodagh Moriarty, said: “In the last 12 months our frontline colleagues have shown outstanding commitment to our customers.

“In recognition of everything they have achieved, we are giving them a pay rise, plus an additional one-off payment.”

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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