J Sainsbury Plc has become the latest British retailer to unveil a “cost of living support package” that it says will help staff cope with the steepest inflation in decades.
The UK’s second-biggest supermarket will lift pay by 25 pence ($0.34) an hour and offer free food and other discounts for employees, it said Tuesday.
Inflation has already moved into the double digits in Britain and is expected to climb further despite the government’s planned cap on energy bills. Grocery prices have risen 12.4% in the last year, according to retail data business Kantar.
John Lewis Partnership Plc said last month it would provide free food from October to January, repeating an offer it made a year earlier. Staff at John Lewis and Waitrose, including temporary workers, are entitled to the offer, which will include cooked food.
Halfords Plc, meanwhile, said this month that it was offering free auto safety inspections to its workforce of more than 10,000 employees.
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Earlier in the summer, a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said that 15% of UK companies had paid, or were planning to pay, a one-time bonus to help staff survive the cost-of-living crisis. It said a further 15% were reviewing the possibility of a one-time bonus. Some businesses are offering financial advice, budget planning services and interest-free loans.
Many employers have not appeased their staff, however, with strikes breaking out across the UK as unions argue for pay hikes that keep pace with inflation.
Retailers could be hit by supply chain disruption during a crucial period for stocking up on products for Christmas, with dockworkers at the UK ports of Felixstowe and Liverpool ready to stage walkouts later this month. Further strikes at train companies and at the Royal Mail Plc are also expected.