Sainsbury’s chief executive, Simon Roberts, received a pay packet worth £3.8m last year, nearly three times the £1.3m he received in 2021 when he waived his bonus due to coronavirus.
Roberts’ package comprised of £2.8m in annual bonuses and long-term incentives, in addition to an £875,000 salary for the year to 2 March, as well as further benefits and pension contributions.
Despite waiving his £1million bonus last year, Roberts did accept it this year, saying his focus was “what we are doing for customers and for our colleagues”.
The £3.8m total – which is 183 times larger than that of the average Sainsbury’s worker – represents a like-for-like increase of 31% over the year. Sainsbury’s employees were awarded a pay increase of just 5.3% in the same period, well below the current 9% level of inflation.
Chief financial officer Kevin O’Byrne also took home more than £3m (£3.17m), up from £2.33m in 2021. Of that, £2.36m was comprised of bonuses and incentives.
The supermarket’s annual report was released as a number of major investors, led by campaign group ShareAction, called on Sainsbury’s to become the first supermarket to pay all its workers – including contractors – the ‘real living wage’.
Set by the Living Wage Foundation, the national living wage is currently £11.05 per hour in London and £9.90 per hour in the rest of the United Kingdom.
Britain’s second-largest supermarket already pays the national living wage to its direct employees, but has held off from paying contractors at the same rate. It has rejected the call and will instead allow shareholders to vote on the matter at this year’s annual meeting, held on 7 July.
“We are proud to have invested over £100m in increasing colleague pay, including becoming the first major retailer to pay all store colleagues the living wage,” said the supermarket.
“For our senior executives, we have removed £100m of Covid-related profit from both the annual bonus and share awards calculations, meaning they are lower than they would otherwise be, reflecting our policy that management pay is strictly aligned with the progress we are making for our customers, colleagues and shareholders.”
The supermarket has also come under fire for declaring a huge increase in dividends amid the cost-of-living crisis.