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Will staff have to pay for National Living Wage?

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Staff at B&Q, Tesco and Morrisons face reductions for Sunday pay as retailers look to cushion the impact of the National Living Wage.

Set to begin in April, the new National Living Wage will raise the hourly minimum wage for workers 25 and over to £7.20 an hour. Geared as a way to help employees, certain retailers have reacted with schemes to reduce payment levels elsewhere.

“It’s shocking to hear that national employers are using the introduction of a new rate of statutory pay to review their reward structures,” said Citizens UK Living Wage Campaigner Angus Ritchie.

A document seen by The Mirror indicates that B&Q is considering axing its Sunday premium, as well as other allowances for employees working unsociable hours.

“Some colleagues would be negatively affected financially by these proposed changes,” the document said.

“Many of the retail staff we talk to often work well over normal working hours just to make ends meet,” Richie continued.

“I’m not sure how many of these workers will view their pay packets and see a ‘living wage’; in fact it’s likely that they will see an ‘existence wage’ – being forced to make tough daily decisions from deciding if they can switch on the heating or do a weekly shop.

The voluntary Living Wage rewards a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.”

At the same time, B&Q has spoken to employees about raising basic pay for all workers, rather than just those affected by the National Living Wage, to £7.66. The company has repeatedly insisted that it is “omitted to being a good player.”

“B&Q is pretending to be a great employer by introducing the National Living Wage,” said Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, estimating that B&Q employees could lose up to £50 a week. “But in reality, it is taking money away from their poorest paid shop floor workers.

It’s a national scandal and I hope that everybody will realise that popular retailers like B&Q and so many others are at it.

Thousands of shop floor workers are silently having their wages cut under the guise of the National Living Wage.”

Tesco recently announced reductions to holiday and night-time bonuses, as per a new arrangement that will see 250,000 staff receive a 3.1% pay rise. Morrisons, too, announced a pay increase for 90,000 staff beginning in March.

Published on Tuesday 16 February by Philip Gallagher

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