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A Campaign Group Is Trolling Tesco’s Shelf Displays To Make It Pay Its Employees A Living Wage

“Only £8.80 per hour”.

1. When you’re next in Tesco, keep an eye on the shelf displays.

This campaign is being run by the charity ShareAction. It has launched an online petition asking Tesco, the U.K.’s biggest private sector employer, to commit to paying staff a Living Wage. The petition, already supported by over 2,500 people, will be delivered to the Tesco board at its AGM in London on 27 June.

2. ShareAction says it has “previously asked Tesco to put its ‘Every Little Helps’ slogan into practice when it comes to ensuring no full-time staff are forced to live below the poverty line.”

3. ShareAction CEO Catherine Howarth said: “Tesco insists its benefit package ensures no employee is condemned to poverty, but pension contributions can’t be used to pay the rent and discount vouchers can’t heat family homes.”

She added: “Tesco has often been accused of putting profit before people. This is an opportunity for the company to answer its critics and, as the U.K.’s largest private sector employer, set an example for the retail sector.”

4. The charity is working with Citizens UK on the campaign.

Citizens UK organiser, Stefan Baskerville, said: “With over half the families living in poverty being in-work, it’s no surprise that low pay remains on the Citizens UK agenda. More than 700 organisations are accredited Living Wage employers. They have recognised that the Living Wage is not only the right thing to do, but also makes good business sense.

“Working with ShareAction we are calling on Tesco to consider how implementation of the Living Wage could help tackle in-work poverty for their lowest-paid staff. The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.”

update

Tesco has responded to the campaign. A spokesman said: “We pay one of the highest hourly rates in the industry, on average between 5 and 8% more than our major competitors. The Living Wage only recognises basic pay, but our reward package is much broader than that. When our colleague discount, Shares in Success scheme and employer pension contributions are taken into account, all our staff receive above the living wage, both in London and in the rest of the U.K.”

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Alan White is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
 
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