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A Shareholder Vote, And A PR Issue For Sainsbury’s

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A shareholder vote, and a PR issue for Sainsbury's

A looming annual meeting at Sainsbury’s may offer proper evidence of whether the City really is taking this ESG stuff seriously – or if we can keep dismissing it as PR fluff.

Sainsbury pays its staff the living wage, but not all its contractors. The company says it can’t and should not, control what Mitie, the outsourcer, pays the staff it uses for security and cleaning. (There are other issues, but that’s the nub of it.)

Which just raises the question of why it outsources those things in the first place.

When I walk into a Sainsbury and see that the security guy works for Mitie, I feel sorry for him and don’t want to shop there.

Why isn’t Sainsbury valuing these people like it does the rest by just employing them directly?

To their credit, big City investors including Legal & General are with me.

The resolution, the first living wage shareholder revolt, will get tested on July 7.

That meeting comes just after we have learnt that CEO Simon Roberts got paid £3.8 million this year. Awks.

Sainsbury’s makes the point that it is one of the good guys on this. Pay for staff is up 25% in the last five years. At Argos it is up 39%.

And its profit margins are a tiny 2.2% — it is not gouging anyone here.

Indeed, so how come it is on the wrong side of this one?

The way this vote goes will be interesting. To get it through, L&G and the rest need 75% of the vote.

They probably won’t get there, but how close? And will it be enough for a mea-culpa from Sainsbury?

Press release of the day

The City of London has the equivalent of 98 St Paul’s Cathedral’s in unused office space, says this from The Utilize Project.

That amount has gone up dramatically lately, obviously.

The West End is not far behind, with the equivalent of 75 Buckingham Palaces.

It is not clear what Utilize thinks should be done with this space, sadly.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) How bad are the losses at Wizz Air? Is that the end of the losses?

2) Is Aveva’s merger with Schneider bearing fruit?

3) How do US oil reserves look post Ukraine?

4) Is Boris bad for the pound?

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