UK staff at a petrol station group are to get a 5% pay rise for “heroic” work since the start of the Covid pandemic.
The wage increase brings the minimum rate for over-18s at EG Group, which was founded by the Asda-owning Issa brothers, to £9.50 per hour.
The pay increase comes amid a crisis that has seen fuel run out at gas stations and reports of customers abusing employees.
In the face of a lorry driver shortage, the army remains on standby to deliver fuel.
Hourly pay for 10,500 UK EG Group employees will increase by about 5% to a minimum of £9.50 per hour “in recognition of their hard work and commitment throughout the pandemic,” according to the company.
“Our colleagues have pulled out all the stops and been nothing short of heroic during often very difficult times since the start of the pandemic,” said Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the group’s billionaire co-founders and co-chief executives. Because of their hard work and dedication, EG has remained a growing company that has performed well over the last year.
“We are grateful to each and every one of them for their contributions, and as a result, we are providing them with a total reward package that we believe is among the best in the country.”
EG Group was founded in 2001 and employs over 45,000 people across 6,200 locations in Europe, the United States, and Australia.
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The United Kingdom has been dealing with a fuel crisis in recent weeks as a result of supply concerns.
While the government and industry claim that there is enough fuel at UK refineries, there have been concerns that a shortage of lorry drivers will affect fuel delivery to gas stations.
Long lines and disgruntled customers have resulted in numerous reports of service station staff abuse on social media.
BBC broadcast engineer Simon Hardwick tweeted: “Chatting with a member of staff at a supermarket petrol station who said they are getting deliveries but within a few hours they sell out again. He also mentioned the abuse he’s been receiving from members of the public.”
Service station employees were subjected to physical and verbal abuse during the crisis, according to industry leaders.
“We are extremely disappointed to hear many forecourt staff are experiencing a high level of both verbal and physical abuse, which is completely unacceptable,” said Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), on Wednesday.
Forecourts are doing everything they can to manage queues and ensure there is enough fuel to go around.”
Mr Balmer stated that fuel deliveries “have been reduced solely due to a shortage of HGV drivers” and that “fuel stocks at refineries and terminals remain normal.”
The PRA, which represents independent fuel retailers, reported on Wednesday that more than a quarter (26%) of its members’ petrol stations were out of fuel.
The industry group represents nearly 5,500 of the UK’s 8,300 radio stations.
The haulage industry attributes the driver shortage to factors such as Covid and Brexit.