MORRISONS has become the first UK supermarket group to guarantee pay of at least £10 an hour for staff.

The new pay deal will start in April and is described as a 'significant' pay increase for nearly 96,000 store workers.

The bump in pay is about a nine per cent increase for most staff and some of the money is coming from a scrapped discretionary bonus scheme.

"Having listened hard to colleagues, they said they would prefer to have a guaranteed amount in their hourly rate and receive it more regularly. So, the annual budget for the discretionary bonus scheme is being rolled into colleagues’ hourly rate, which is paid every four weeks," said a spokesman.

Morrisons minimum hourly pay currently stands at £9.20 an hour.

Today’s announcement means that since 2015, Morrisons pay has increased by more than 46 per cent.

David Potts, Morrisons chief executive, said the move was partly in recognition of his teams 'working tirelessly' throughout the pandemic.

Supermarkets have been open throughout the three lockdowns and tier system to keep the nation fed.

He added: “It’s great to be able to say that in the UK from April this year, if you work at Morrisons supermarkets, you will earn at least £10 an hour. It’s a symbolic and important milestone that represents another step in rewarding the incredibly important work that our colleagues do up and down the country.

“Over the last year we have seen renewed and widespread appreciation in the UK for our colleagues who have had an incredibly tough 2020, working tirelessly so Britain could eat well and shop safely throughout the pandemic. Morrisons colleagues have earned their status as key workers, and this pay increase, many times over.”

On the old pay deal full time workers get a base rate of £17,581.20 with total earnings of £17,897 if they get the bonus. On the new deal they get £19,110.

Joanne McGuinness, Usdaw national officer, said: “The new consolidated hourly rate is now the leading rate of the major supermarkets, which is paid every hour and removes the uncertainty of a bonus payment. It is a big step forward, shows that Morrisons is prepared to invest in the staff to help grow the business and I hope that the deal is supported by our members in the ballot.

“It’s been a tough time for food retail staff who have worked throughout the pandemic in difficult circumstances. They provide the essential service of keeping the nation fed and deserve our support, respect and appreciation. Most of all they deserve decent pay and this offer is a welcome boost.”