Two of the largest retailers in the UK are responding to the rapidly rising cost of living with price cuts and wage increases. The Morrisons chain is cutting prices on more than 100 main products, as reported by trade magazine The Grocer. Prices for some foods, such as rice, eggs, chicken and cereal, are expected to drop by an average of 13 percent.
"We know our customers are under real financial pressure right now, and we want to do our part to help them when it comes to the cost of grocery," said company CEO David Potts.
At the same time, the number four player in the market is increasing wages by 4.5 percent. In total, Morrisons is investing 73 million pounds (86.5 million euros). The company had previously announced it expected significantly lower revenues due to the huge increase in inflation as well as the Russian war on Ukraine.
Competitor Asda plans to take similar steps. "Unprecedented" steps include price cuts averaging 12 percent across a range of fresh foods, as well as rice, pasta, soft drinks and frozen products. In addition, the number three company plans to increase the wages of 120,000 hourly workers to 10.10 pounds an hour from July - 60 pence more than the statutory minimum wage for over-23s. Bonus payments are also planned, as well as other financial benefits, The Grocer reported.
Co-owner Mohsin Issa called the measures "unprecedented." "We stand shoulder to shoulder with the families and communities that are now struggling with so many challenges," Issa said.
Worker representatives welcomed the wage increases. Workers in the "retail sector, predominantly women, face living on low wages every day," said Nadine Houghton of the GMB union. At the same time, she stressed that the move was overdue.
In the UK, inflation climbed by 6.2 percent year-on-year in March. In April, energy prices for households on the basic tariff also rose by more than 50 percent, and social security contributions were also increased significantly.
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