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Public support swells for Sainsbury’s Living Wage resolution

Over 100,000 members of the public have joined calls for Sainsbury’s to accredit as a Living Wage employer.

Over 100,000 members of the public have joined calls for Sainsbury’s to accredit as a Living Wage employer

(Thursday 30th June, London) Today, a group of individuals co-ordinated by Organise and 38 Degrees attended Sainsbury’s headquarters to submit a petition of 102,764 signatures.

The group also handed in a report, detailing the experiences of Sainsbury’s workers.

Included in the report were a number of testimonials from Sainsbury’s staff around the challenges they are facing in the current economic climate, for example:

  • "Struggling to make ends meet was hard enough, now it’s impossible. We are going without so much just to get to the next payday";
  • "All I do is work I can't afford to do anything else";
  • "We are really struggling and don't think we will be having any heating on this year";
  • “Please help us survive through the storm”.

This comes one week before investors will vote on a resolution calling on Sainsbury’s to accredit as a Living Wage employer at their AGM, taking place on Thursday 7th July.

As a result of the resolution, in April Sainsbury’s announced they were uplifting pay for London staff, meaning all directly employed staff currently earn the real Living Wage.

However, the resolution remains on the ballot as important gaps remain. Sainsbury’s haven’t extended this commitment to their subcontracted staff such as cleaners and security guards and without accreditation there is no commitment direct employees will continue to earn a wage that meets the cost of living.

Several shareholders have publicly declared they will vote in support of the resolution, including Aviva Investors, Coutts & Co, the Coal Pension Trustees and Global Systemic Investors.

The original co-filing group behind the resolution was backed by the UK’s largest asset manager, Legal and General Investment Management and the largest workplace pension scheme, Nest, alongside 108 individual shareholders from a variety of backgrounds, from Sainsbury’s workers to employment barristers to MPs.

Rachel Hargreaves, Campaigns Manager at ShareAction said:

Today’s action is a powerful demonstration from the public of the importance of addressing low pay for the most vulnerable key workers amidst the cost-of-living crisis. There is clear value for employers and investors in Living Wage accreditation, as well as an imperative to take responsibility for the impact of poverty pay on individuals and on society. People across the country are looking to investors to vote in support of the resolution.”

Roxana Khan-Williams, Digital Campaigner at Organise said:

“Our network’s worker-powered petition shows there is widespread support among Sainsbury’s staff and shoppers for a decent wage for all Sainsbury’s workers. Organise members who work at Sainsbury’s are choosing between feeding themselves and heating their homes. They’re using food banks despite working full time, so they’re asking for a fair share of Sainsbury’s profits to be returned to them in the form of a Real Living Wage.”

Veronica Hawking, Head of Campaigns at 38 Degrees said:

“The public are sending a clear message to Sainsbury’s today, ahead of their AGM: pay all your workers a living wage now. With reports that more and more supermarket employees are turning to foodbanks, and 1 in 3 Sainsbury’s workers regularly worried about feeding their families, shareholders must do the right thing – customers will be watching.”

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