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Britain's Sainsbury's gives staff third pandemic bonus

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FILE PHOTO: The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Durham
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's second-largest supermarket group Sainsbury's will award staff a third bonus for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, it said on Friday.

Sainsbury's has 172,000 workers, making it one of Britain's biggest private sector employers.

The third one-off payment will be made in May to staff working in stores, plus logistics and customer care teams.

It will be based on 3% of an employee's annual pay, so a full-time staffer would receive more than 530 pounds ($739).

Sainsbury's also announced a pay increase for store staff.

It said that from March the hourly rate for Sainsbury’s and Argos store workers would increase to 9.50 pounds - an increase from 9.30 pounds for a Sainsbury’s worker and 9.00 pounds for an Argos worker.

Workers in central London will have their pay increased to 10.10 pounds an hour.

The group said the latest rise means pay for store staff has increased by 24% over the past five years.

Shop workers union Usdaw, however, was critical of the rise, saying it fell short of the deal it negotiated with Morrisons, Britain's fourth-biggest supermarket group, to pay staff 10 pounds an hour from April.

Sainsbury’s said in January that after forgoing business rates relief of 410 million pounds it expected to report an underlying pretax profit of "at least" 330 million pounds for its 2020-21 financial year, down from 586 million pounds in 2019-20.

($1 = 0.7171 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alistair Smout and David Goodman)