Tesco | Retailer asks redundant staff to pay back wages

Retailer asks redundant staff to pay back wages

One of Britain’s biggest grocery and general retailers, Tesco, has provoked a row with former staff after admitting it “over and underpaid” people throughout their time there.

Tesco, whose net income was in excess of £1.2billion last year, has demanded that the overpaid staff give back accidental pay if it’s over £500. A Tesco spokesperson has said this “administrative error” was the company’s fault, but irrespective of this it is clear the international mega-retailer wants to show that keeping the overpayment is a precedent they don’t want to set.

This creates problems meaning any worker who was paid £499 can keep the whole amount, whereas the unfortunate soul who was paid £501 has to return all but £100 of it.

The Press Association believes that around 200 to 300 former staff were overpaid as much as £2,000. The mix-up occurred during part of a major redundancy programme unveiled earlier this year which could see as many as 9,000 full-time positions be reduced or removed. Questions have been raised as to whether this move is needed, as Tesco reported a 28.8% rise in annual pre-tax profits last year.

Staff on all levels are expected to see their jobs go this year, from deli counters to head office. The silver lining is that thousands will get a pay-rise to £9.30 an hour, although that also comes with the sacrifice of their annual bonus.

Chief Executive Dave Lewis, whose pay packet stands at £4.6million, including a £1.25million base salary and £1.6million bonus, as well as long-term share plans worth well over a million, has apologised for the issues that the error has caused and said letters had been sent out to redress it.

A spokesperson from Tesco said: “Colleagues who were underpaid were paid the correct amount within one or two working days and this issue is now resolved…we have been in touch with colleagues who were overpaid to apologise, and we will be fair to colleagues affected, taking account of individual circumstances.”

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