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Updates from the Living Wage Foundation

News: 45% of supermarket workers earn below the real Living Wage, as UK’s major supermarkets report record profits.

New research by the Living Wage Foundation reveals that 45% of supermarket workers (410,000 employees) earn below the real Living Wage, which currently stands at £9.50 per hour in the UK outside of London and £10.85 per hour inside of London (after it was revised up in November 2020). The real Living Wage is the only UK hourly rate of earnings that is based on the cost of living.

The new figures out today reveal the scale of the ‘pay gap’ - the difference between the highest earners and the rest - for the UK supermarket industry, showing that supermarkets have some of the largest pay gaps between CEOs and their colleagues.

Tesco, Morrisons and Ocado are amongst the top 10 FTSE 350 companies with the biggest gaps, with Tesco coming in third highest with a pay ratio of 305:1 for CEO/median employee ratios and 355:1 for lower quartile employee ratios. 

It is also revealed that supermarket workers are given fewer hours – despite reporting wanting to work more – than other workers, with the typical supermarket employee working 28 hours per week, in comparison to 37 hours across sectors.

Citizens UK, which supports low paid workers to organise for better pay and rights at work, and the High Pay Centre (who supported the research) are calling on the UK’s leading supermarkets to pay their staff the real Living Wage and accredit with the Living Wage Foundation. 

December was a record month for British supermarkets, with shoppers spending nearly £12bn, the highest Christmas trading result on record. However, not one UK supermarket is accredited with the Living Wage Foundation. There are almost 7,000 Living Wage Employers in the UK. 

Laura Gardiner, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: 

“Supermarket workers have been vital in keeping the country fed throughout this crisis, but nearly half find themselves paid less than the real Living Wage and unable to afford the basics. We’ve all been hit by this storm, but while supermarkets have weathered it and made record profits, thousands of their workers are struggling to keep their heads above water. It’s high time they were paid a real Living Wage so that they can put food on their tables, as well as ours.”

Low pay in supermarkets briefing.

Read our briefing on low-pay in the Supermarket sector, which finds almost half (45 per cent) of the 900,000-strong supermarket employee workforce earned below the real Living Wage.

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13th January 2021
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