B &Q staff are pressuring Kingfisher to restore overtime pay and benefits after the company cut them in a bid to reduce the impact of the National Living Wage.
The NWL will go into effect on Friday and will entitle workers over the age of 25 to £7.20 an hour minimum, an increase of 50p on the current minimum wage. A number of companies, B&Q included, have attempted to offset the financial cost of this by reducing employee wages elsewhere. Staff at B&Q are being urged to sign their agreement for these changes, or risk losing their jobs.
“Our aim is to reward all of our people fairly so that employees who are doing the same job receive the same pay,” a B&Q spokesperson said. “That isn’t the case at the moment as some have been benefiting from allowances for a long time when others have not and that can’t continue. Over 12 months ago, long before the National Living Wage announcement, we commenced a review of our pay and reward framework introduced in 2004, and these changes reflect that view.”
An unnamed B&Q manager started a petition calling for the restoration of overtime, summer and winter bonuses and London allowances. According to Retail Week, the manager has already gathered over 73,000 signatures.
It is a particularly sore topic for B&Q considering Wesfarmers, the new owners of B&Q’s major rival Homebase, announced that it would be awarding the NWL pay increase to all members of staff at its new chain, including those under 25.
Labour MPs have urged the government to make companies to pay the cost themselves, rather than allowing it to fall on workers.