Theresa May urged to take action over Sainsbury’s’ contract changes that cut wages for some

Supermarket says 93% of its 130,000 staff get a pay rise under deal but MPs say loyal workers stand to lose thousands

MPs have written to the prime minister, urging her to take action over “shocking” changes to contracts at Sainsbury’s that could see loyal staff losing up to £3,000 per year.

The letter, written by Labour’s Siobhain McDonagh and signed by around 100 MPs, including David Lammy, Frank Field and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey comes as a petition to stop the changes had gathered 103,000 signatures by Monday night.

Sainsbury’s has announced sweeping changes to the terms of contracts for 130,000 staff in almost 1,500 branches across the UK. According to the MPs, around 10 per cent of staff – often those who have worked at the company the longest – will lose money.

Sainsbury’s says 93 per cent of staff will receive a pay rise and that those who lose out will have their pay topped up to previous levels for the next 18 months.

It said only a handful of staff would lose the £3,000 per year quoted by MPs.

Under the deal, staff will no longer get paid breaks or higher rates of pay for Sunday work. Premium pay rates for night shift work will be restricted to between midnight and 5am and shopfloor staff will no longer be able to earn bonuses.

Currently, staff who work between midnight and 2am are paid extra for their whole shift.

Employees of Argos, which Sainsbury’s bought in 2016, will see their basic pay remain behind that of their Sainsbury’s colleagues, despite many even being based in the same store, the MPs said.

Sainsbury’s has said it is raising basic pay to what it considers to be the best in the retail sector. Shopfloor staff will see their hourly wage rise from £8 to £9.20 per hour, a rate which is fixed until another pay review in March 2020.

That’s 20p per hour more than the official National Living Wage is protected to be by April 2020, based on current projections.