Almost half of UK supermarket workers earn below the real Living Wage, research reveals

Over 42% of all supermarket workers in the UK earn below the real Living Wage, according to new research by Living Wage Foundation (LWF). 

According to the research, 360,000 workers earn below the real living wage which currently stands at £9.90 (UK) and £11.05 (London). 

Not one supermarket in the UK is an accredited Living Wage employer, despite December being the busiest month for supermarket sales. 

According to LWF’s data, 49% of all female supermarket workers earn below the real Living Wage, compared to just 35% of men. 

Workers from Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds (44%) are more likely to earn below the real Living Wage than their white counterparts (41%). 

READ MORE: Supermarket’s business models on a ‘knife edge’, research reveals

Part-time workers (55%), half of disabled workers (50%) and 65–69-year-olds (62%) were more likely to earn below the real Living Wage. 

Additionally, research by Organise found that one in three Sainsbury’s workers regularly worried about putting food and drink on the table, with The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) reported an increase in supermarket workers using their food banks. 

This has been exasperated by the cost-of-living crisis as inflation costs have reached the highest point in over a decade and working people have been hit with the biggest tax burden in 70 years. 

“Despite record numbers of employers signing up to pay their staff the real Living Wage since the start of the pandemic, no supermarket has yet accredited as a Living Wage employer,” Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman said. 

“Supermarket workers have been vital in keeping the country fed throughout Covid-19, yet 42% are paid a wage too low to cover basic living costs. 

She added: “As sales soar in the run up to Christmas, we hope that supermarkets will take that vital step and ensure that everyone who works for them is paid a real Living Wage and can put food on their tables, as well as ours. The prize of being the first Living Wage supermarket is there for the taking.”

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