Workers’ anger at move by chief executive who merged firm with Sainsbury’s in £1.4bn deal
Argos workers have seen their Christmas bonus halved by the company boss who was filmed singing “We’re in the money” when the firm merged with Sainsbury’s.
Workers will see their annual gift go from £10 to just £5 to bring it in line with the amount put in the Sainsbury’s workforce festive pay packet, reports the Mirror .
The millionaire boss caught on camera singing “We’re in the money” has halved Argos staff’s Christmas bonus to just £5.
Workers used to get £10 towards a seasonal bash before a takeover by Sainsbury’s – headed by Mike Coupe.
While Argos’ 16,000 sales staff earn a typical £11,931 a year, Mr Coupe pocketed £3.9million after his bonus soared to £593,000.
One insider said: “Argos cut the bonus to just a fiver in the same year the CEO takes £3.9million.
“It brings it in line with Sainsbury’s, rather than raise Sainsbury’s to £10. Great company.”
Dave Gill, of union Usdaw, said: “Given the company states they want ‘to create a fantastic team spirit’ with parties, this cut in budget could be seen as mean spirited.
“We have asked them to reconsider.”
The supermarket giant has already faced controversy over plans to cut paid breaks, special rates for Sundays and annual bonuses for its 130,000 shopworkers.
“We’re in the money”
Sainsbury’s saw its pre-tax profits surge to £635m, but suffered a hefty £46m hit from its failed merger with Asda.
The figures for the supermarket chain amount to a 7.8 per cent rise in underlying profits for the year to March 9.
However statutory after-tax profits dipped from £309m the previous year to £219m, weighed down by £396m of charges, including £46m in costs for the failed Asda deal.
This report was published in 2015 as an investigation into retailers pay practices and the taxpayer subsidy.
Taxpayers spend £11bn to top up low wages paid by UK companies
Research published by Citizens UK found that companies in the UK are paying their workers so little that the taxpayer has to top up wages to the tune of £11bn a year. The four big supermarkets (Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons) alone are costing just under £1bn a year in tax credits and extra benefits payments.
This is a direct transfer from the rest of society to some of the largest businesses in the country. To put the figure in perspective, the total cost of benefit fraud last year was just £1bn. Corporate scrounging costs 11 times that.
Worse, this is a direct subsidy for poverty pay. If supermarkets and other low-paying employers know they can secure work even at derisory wages, since pay will be topped up by the state, they have no incentive to offer higher wages.
None of this makes sense. We are all, in effect, paying a huge sum of money so that we can continue to underpay the 22% of workers who are earning below the Living Wage – the level at which it is possible to live without government subsidies. The only possible beneficiaries are business owners.
Please note all figures used in this report are from 2015 and hence should be seen as a snapshot from that time and not indicative of current pay practices or public subsidies. To date only one major supermarket, Aldi, is paying the real and London Living Wage to in-house staff. However Aldi does not pay the real Living Wage to contract staff.
In 2018 Sainsburys moved to paying above the real Living Wage to in-house staff outside of London (at £9.20 an hour). We are not aware of whether they pay the London Living Wage to staff in London, or if they pay a real Living Wage to contract staff.
The Real and London Living Wage are calculated as the minimum needed to meet the cost of living in the UK and London.
Sainsbury’s increases staff pay – but axes paid breaks and bonuses
Last year Sainsbury’s had been accused of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” with plans to increase basic pay for shop-floor staff but axe paid breaks, premium pay for Sundays and an annual bonus.
In the latest forecast, outturn spending on tax credits is estimated to be £25.8 billion in 2017-18, with around £0.6 billion of spending having been ‘lost’ to UC. We expect tax credits spending in 2018-19 to total £26.0 billion (on a ‘no-UC’ counterfactual basis), with 3.6 million recipients paid an average of £7,170 each. That would represent around 3.2 per cent of total public spending and 1.2 per cent of national income.