Mike Coupe 'in the money' with £3.4m payday amid censure for axing staff perks

Sainsbury's boss Mike Coupe is celebrating a £1.1 million pay rise, even as he faces severe criticism for stripping staff of benefits.

The supermarket chief executive, who is attempting to merge Sainsbury's with rival Asda, has received a £3.4 million pay package for 2017-18, according to the company's annual report.

Mr Coupe's basic salary rose 2% to £943,000, and his total pay includes a £427,000 bonus and £1.8 million in share awards.

Sainsbury's said the bumper payout was awarded for hitting financial targets.

However, Mr Coupe has been criticised for taking home such a large amount while also removing employee benefits, such as paid breaks and bonus.

Labour's Siobhain McDonagh, who has been leading a campaign urging Sainsbury's to row back on its controversial plans, said staff were forced to "work well, for less".

The criticism comes after Mr Coupe faced embarrassment when caught singing show tune We're In The Money on camera when announcing the Asda merger.

"What self-respecting chief executive would accept a million-pound pay rise whilst simultaneously slashing the salaries of 9,000 of his most loyal and longstanding staff?" the Mitcham and Morden MP said.

"Whilst Mike Coupe sings how he is 'in the money', his most dedicated staff are being made to work well, for less."

More than 100 MPs have written to Prime Minister Theresa May to complain about Sainsbury's pay plans, and influential Business Select Committee chairwoman Rachel Reeves has contacted the company to probe the move.

Ms Reeves asked Sainsbury's to clarify whether the restrictions on bonuses for staff would be reflected at executive level.

New Sainsbury CFO
New Sainsbury CFO

Kevin O'Byrne, who was appointed as Sainsbury's finance chief in January 2017, received £1.4 million, while Argos boss John Rogers took home £2.2 million, up from £1.6 million the year before.

Mr Coupe, Mr Rogers and Mr O'Byrne received a total of £929,000 in bonuses.

A Sainsbury's spokesman said: "Executive pay at Sainsbury's is set by the remuneration committee and bonuses are subject to stretching targets. Mike and other executives were not awarded an annual bonus last year as the business did not hit its targets.

"The business has hit a number of targets this year, including increasing profit, which is why we have paid a bonus to eligible colleagues across the group."