BP is to adopt the Real Living Wage (RLW) and will pay all its directly-employed UK retail staff accordingly from August 1.

The move will affect around 5,000 staff working in around 300 BP-operated retail sites and stores across the UK.

The company said its hourly pay rates for these staff already exceed the government-set rates (the minimum wage and National Living Wage) but adopting the voluntary RLW standard will result in a pay increase for the great majority. Increases for individuals will vary depending on their current rate and location (the RLW includes London weighting) but, on average across the UK, it will represent a pay increase approaching 5%.

The real Living Wage rates claim to be higher because they are independently-calculated based on what people need to get by.

BP also intends to seek accreditation by the Living Wage Foundation - committing to paying all its UK staff the RLW, and also having a plan to ensure that this also applies to all its contracted staff. As part of seeking accreditation it will commit to increase its pay rates in line with reviews of the RLW.

The company claims to be the first retailer in the forecourt sector, and of our scale, to seek accreditation.

BP has been looking at adopting this voluntary higher standard for some time and believes adopting it is the right thing to do, both for its business and people,” according to chief executive Bernard Looney. “It’s important recognition of the numerous challenges faced by our front-line staff, which have been highlighted during the current crisis.”

The announcement about the adoption of the RLW was made at the company’s AGM this week. Chair of the meeting, senior independent director Sir Ian Davis, said: “I believe this recognises the importance BP places on our frontline employees, who serve millions of customers and bring the purpose and values of BP to life day in, day out.”