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Sainsbury’s share price: Grocer faces renewed pressure over staff pay plans

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J Sainsbury (LON:SBRY) has come under more pressure after being asked to explain the reasoning behind a pay deal which could leave 9,000 staff worse off, The Times has reported. The news comes after the blue-chip supermarket recently changed some of its staff pay proposals detailed in March, bowing to pressure from employees and trade unions.

Sainsbury’s share price has been subdued in today’s session, having slipped 0.09 percent to 318.00p as of 08:50 BST. The stock is underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having started June on the front foot and currently standing 0.65 percent higher at 7,728.49 points. The grocer’s shares have added more than 13 percent to their value over the past year, as compared with about a 2.3-percent in the Footsie.

Sainsbury’s under pressure over staff pay

The Times reported this morning that Rachel Reeves, chairwoman of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee, who is already closely scrutinising Sainsbury’s proposed merger with Asda, had asked the FTSE 100 supermarket to explain why workers “deserve to be paid less in future for doing the same amount of work”. The retailer’s changes proposed in March include an hourly rate increase from £8 £9.20 per hour from September while removing payments for breaks and an annual discretionary staff bonus.

“To what extent are the changes [in the pay deal] intended to harmonise pay and conditions with those at Asda, ahead of the proposed merger?,” Reeves said in a letter to Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe, as quoted by the newspaper.

Latest Kantar Worldpanel data

In other Sainsbury’s news, Kantar Worldpanel revealed this week that the grocer’s  first increase in promotional activity in three years had helped boost sales by one percent year-on-year in the 12 weeks to May 20. The retailer’s market share, however, fell back by 0.2 percentage points during the reported period.

As of 09:06 BST, Friday, 01 June, J Sainsbury plc share price is 317.90p.

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