A new report showing 45 per cent of supermarket staff still earn below the real living wage, currently £9.50 per hour outside of London and £10.85 per hour in the capital.
Citizens UK, the campaign group, claimed 410,000 underpaid staff working behind the tills, stacking shelves and keeping the food supply chain should be given “that bit extra”.
Matthew Bolton, executive director at Citizens UK, said: “Whilst some employers are really struggling, supermarkets are experiencing bumper sales ... It is unacceptable.”
December was a record month for British supermarkets, with shoppers spending nearly £12bn – the highest Christmas trading result on record.
Campaigners also expressed concerned supermarket workers continue to struggle to get regular full-time hours to help them pay their bills. Supermarket employees work 28 hours per week, on average, in comparison to 37 hours across all sectors.
Supermarkets also have some of the country’s largest pay gaps, with Tesco, Morrisons and Ocado among the top 10 companies on the FTSE 350 with the biggest gaps in earnings between CEOs and low-paid staff.
One Sainsbury’s employee of almost 25 years, who has recently had to get a second job to cover their bills, said:
“Two and a half years ago we stopped getting paid for our breaks so now when I work a six-hour shift I only get paid for five hours and 40 minutes – the system they use automatically deducts a 20-minute break from your clocking in card.
“In effect for a six-hour shift I’m only getting £8.78 an hour. I’ve had to get a second job because I was struggling to pay the bills on this job alone. We’re the backbone of the company at the moment and deserve better.”