Itsu gives workforce 11% pay rise in bid to retain staff

The Asian food chain Itsu has announced it is handing its 1,000-strong workforce an 11 per cent pay rise this month.

Itsu’s entry-level staff will now earn £10.40 per hour from September 17 with its founder, Julian Metcalfe hoping it will help retain existing staff.

“Our team members are the heart of our business and the face of our brand for our customers in-store,” Metcalfe said.

“This announcement will only increase the number of people that want to join [Itsu]”, he added.

The news comes less than a week after Costa Coffee also announced a pay rise for its workers, with the 14,500 staff at the coffee chain enjoying a 5 per cent pay rise.

Online supermarket chain Ocado has also recently confirmed it will be spending an extra £5 million on staff pay and signing-on bonuses, whilst Tesco and Amazon are also offering welcome bonuses of £1,000 in an attempt to entice new staff.

Supermarkets and hospitality have struggled to retain staff on current levels of pay following the pandemic, with businesses now unable to rely upon cheap migrant labour following Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. As such, many businesses are finding a need to offer staff more money to retain them or attract newcomers.

Job vacancies topped a record one million this week with a huge 134,000 jobs advertised in the hospitality sector from June to August.

In some industries, where demand is far exceeding supply, HGV drivers are being paid more than many white-collar workers with some positions surpassing £40,000 a year.

“Across the board we’re seeing significant salary increases,” managing director of Acorn recruitment, Bernard Ward, told the BBC.

“I’ve more recently seen a HGV driver and being paid more than a solicitor, which is something I never thought I’d see in this day and age,” he added.

Naturally, a win for workers causes a headache for some employers who need to fork out more in overheads and a balance is needed, but the reality that staff are enjoying significantly higher salaries in the first year of Brexit Britain smashes the Project Fear peddled by the Remain campaign in the EU referendum which promised job losses in the tens of thousands and record levels of unemployment.