Share Action

Ocado board face shareholder questions on pay inequality

(Monday 29th April) Today, the board, senior executives and shareholders of grocery giant Ocado will face a question from a shareholder at its annual general meeting (AGM) about why the board is comfortable proposing to award a £14.8 million pay package to its CEO, Tim Steiner, while refusing to pay hundreds of its workers a real Living Wage of £12 an hour to reflect the true cost-of-living.

The question is coordinated by responsible investment NGO ShareAction, which has been working with investors to engage Ocado on its pay policy for low-paid workers since 2019.

Dan Howard, Head of Good Work at ShareAction, said: “Low wages and the cost-of-living crisis are leaving growing numbers of people in the UK unable to buy food and living in poverty despite being in work.

“Ocado has a responsibility to ensure its lowest paid workers are at least able to cover the cost of everyday goods and services, by guaranteeing all directly employed and third-party contracted staff the real Living Wage both nationally and in London.

“Ocado has been talking about addressing low pay for five years but has yet to make a long-term commitment. Today we’re calling on the board to pay the real Living Wage – this would make a significant difference to the lives of hundreds of its lowest paid workers.”

Ocado’s pay policy means it is lagging behind industry peers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S that have committed to pay their staff the real Living Wage as a base rate.

ShareAction is urging Ocado, alongside other major supermarkets in the UK, to accredit as a Living Wage employer, which would mean all staff including third-party contractors would be guaranteed the real Living Wage on an ongoing basis, and to set out a timeline for doing this.

There is growing concern among the investment community about the systemic harm that low pay poses to the broader economy.

ShareAction’s Good Work investor coalition, representing $6.6 trillion in assets under management, is calling for movement across the retail sector toward real Living Wage accreditation.

Notes to editors

Established by the Living Wage Foundation, the real Living Wage is the minimum hourly rate necessary for workers to afford housing, food, and other basic needs. The new real Living Wage rates for 2024/25 are £12 per hour in UK (up from £10.90) and £13.15 per hour in London (up from £11.95).

Latest News