Thousands of Tesco employees have been forced to accept significant pay cuts in real terms.
This is because the supermarket is putting pressure on store managers while increasing pay for lower wage workers.
In the latest pay battle in the midst of the cost of living crisis, the retailer’s team managers, who earn around £30,000 per year, claim to have received as little as a 3 percent pay increase.
The official rate of inflation is close to 10 percent, with 11 percent expected this month.
The managers, approximately 6,500 of whom supervise shop-floor employees, claim that the real-terms pay cut coincided with a significant increase in their workload.
This was after being asked to manage a larger number of people due to job cuts.
One team manager stated that they now have responsibility for more than 20 employees, up from about seven five years ago.
One team manager said: “We all feel very let down. Tesco is publicly stating that it understands how its colleagues are struggling, yet appears to be excluding a whole chunk of store staff,”.
Others said, in messages that their workload had increased as they had to cover for staff who were off sick because there were not enough staff to cover overtime. “We’re in the trenches and it feels like a battle to survive,” one said, while another said: “I am exhausted”.
Daniel Adams, national officer for the shopworkers’ union Usdaw, said: “[We have] consistently raised the issue of pay for salaried employees within Tesco and we are pressing the business to do more for these colleagues too, given the extent and depth of the cost of living crisis.
“We continue to relay the feedback of members to the business and will be discussing the situation further with the business at our next national consultative meeting.”
A Tesco spokesperson said the company was working hard to support staff across the business. “We benchmark pay for all roles at Tesco to ensure they are competitive against the market and we’re also mindful of the broader economic pressures our colleagues face”.
“Our team managers do brilliant work, day in and day out, and in addition to their pay increase this year, they also received a bonus of 4.5percent in May. We’re currently speaking to both colleagues and our union representatives to understand how we might be able to support these colleagues further.”
The company is also said to have recently introduced “shift leaders” to assist with some of the managers’ responsibilities.
According to one team leader, the change was made as a less expensive alternative to hiring more managers.
They also stated that the bonus was subject to high tax rates because it was a one-time payment and that it was entirely at Tesco’s discretion, making it less reliable than regular pay.
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The real terms pay cut for the company’s salaried workers comes after a much-touted string of pay increases for hourly workers.
The supermarket announced earlier this week that the basic hourly rate of pay in Tesco stores would increase by 20p to £10.30 (or £10.98 in London), bringing the total pay increase this year to 8%.
Employees in the group’s Booker wholesale division will receive a 25p-per-hour raise up to a maximum of £10.
Tesco is also moving its next pay review to January, about three months earlier than usual, so hourly employees will likely see another raise in the spring rather than August.
Source: The Guardian